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MSC.Software Inc. and antitrust regulators have tentatively resolved charges that its 1999 acquisition of two software companies was illegal. The five members of the Federal Trade Commission must still approve the settlement. The FTC issued a terse statement Tuesday saying it has filed a joint motion with MSC to drop its challenge to the acquisitions. “The MSC.Software Corp. matter has been withdrawn from adjudication for the purpose of considering a proposed consent agreement,” the FTC said. MSC made a similar announcement late Monday. Neither released details of the settlement. “We view this agreement as a win-win for both parties,” MSC Chairman Frank Perna said. “This action removes considerable uncertainty from MSC.Software’s future. Our strategy of delivering software, services and systems remains totally intact.” Trial was supposed to begin Tuesday before Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell on charges that MSC attempted to monopolize the market for so-called Nastran solvers when it acquired Universal Analytics Inc. and Computerized Structural Analysis & Research Corp. Nastran is a computer language that powers engineering software used in the aerospace and automotive industries. Court documents indicate that Santa Ana, Calif.-based MSC had been in negotiations with Canonsburg, Pa.-based Ansys Inc. to license a Nastran solver as part of a settlement with the FTC. But it was unclear Tuesday whether Ansys was involved in the final deal. An Ansys spokeswoman did not return a call for comment. MSC and FTC officials declined to comment. An MSC spokesman said the company expects the FTC commissioners to vote on the settlement in two to four weeks. Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Jay Vleeschhouwer issued a research note saying the settlement should save MSC about $6 million in litigation expenses that it had expected to incur in the third and fourth quarters. MSC has previously disclosed that it spent $4 million in the first quarter on the case. Copyright �2002 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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