“We had been talking with Raritan about licensing our technology. They finally said it doesn’t make since to license it; we’re just going to buy you.” – Former Oculan executive.
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RALEIGH — The strange odyssey of Oculan took another turn on Wednesday.

In business, backed by $10 million in venture capital and growing.

Shut down and nearly out of business.

Revived under new owners and back in business.

Now, sold to new owners.

Oculan, a developer of network security devices, has been sold to its second set of new owners in less than a year.

Raritan, a New Jersey-based firm focused on information technology infrastructure management, said Wednesday that it had acquired Oculan. No terms were disclosed.

“We had been talking with Raritan about licensing our technology,” a former Oculan executive told Local tech Wire. “They finally said it doesn’t make since to license it; we’re just going to buy you.”

Oculan’s new owners at first resisted idea of selling and continued to hire new people, the former exec added. Oculan’s staff was back over 10 people when the executive left to join another technology firm.

The sale to Raritan was formalized shortly thereafter.

“When we came back in business, I had a contact with Raritan,” the executive said. “They wanted to evaluate our technology. We found out they were evaluating us against three other competitors.”

Oculan was purchased by two Minnesota entrepreneurs in January. The company was largely shut down in 2004 when its chief financial backer, George Soros and his Private Equity Partners, refused to put more money into the firm even though Oculan’s hardware had won several awards and more than 140 resellers were marketing the gear.

Oculan stayed in business despite laying off its 50 employees in May of 2004. Shane O’Donnell, Oculan’s chief technical officer, worked with customers and also helped to find a buyer for Oculan along with Robert Davis, the last CEO of Oculan before the shutdown.

O’Donnell, who no longer is with Oculan, helped broker the sales of Oculan’s assets to Minnesota entrepreneurs Tom Kieffer and C. McKensize Lewis III. The new owners moved to rehire quickly a number of former Oculan employees, including its lead programmer.

No one at Oculan could be reached for comment by LTW. The company did confirm the sale with an announcement on its web site.

“Oculan products, with their ability to discover, monitor and manage network equipment and servers, complement Raritan’s products that provide anywhere, anytime access to IT equipment,” said Thomas Swift, president and chief operating officer of Raritan, in a statement. “Together they deliver additional value to our customers by providing a comprehensive, cost-effective, easy-to-use solution to manage the many elements of an IT infrastructure. Oculan’s current customers will benefit from Raritan’s resources, support and products; while Raritan’s customers will benefit from the enhanced offerings.”

Oculan’s so-called “purple boxes” will be sold under the brand name Raritan CommandCenter.

Raritan said it planned to maintain an office in Raleigh. The Triangle Business Journal reported that the 12 or so workers at Oculan had been offered jobs with Raritan.

Raritan: www.raritan.com