Bottomline Technologies Inc., a developer of corporate payments software, has filed for an initial public offering.

The Portsmouth, N.H., company hopes to raise $40 million, according to its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. No offering date was set.

Proceeds would be used for general purposes, such as raising the company's visibility and attracting and retaining key employees, said the prospectus. BancBoston Robertson Stephens, BT Alex. Brown, and CIBC Oppenheimer are to underwrite the offering.

Bottomline's revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30 were $29 million, up 31% from a year earlier. Net income was $2.8 million, compared to a loss of $1.7 million in the preceding year.

In March, the Federal Reserve System awarded Bottomline a contract to develop affordable software for processing electronic data interchange messages and accompanying payments.

The contract positions Bottomline to seize share in a market being pried open by the Treasury Department's EFT '99 initiative. Under that effort, most government payments to corporations would be made electronically. Bottomline's software would help the vast majority of U.S. banks, which are incapable of translating such electronic information, to comply.

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Shares of Electronic Data Systems Corp. rose $2.75 Friday, to $43.50, after the company named Richard Brown to be chief executive officer.

Mr. Brown, chief executive of Cable & Wireless in Vienna, Va., is to join the Plano, Tex., computer services company Jan. 15. EDS had been searching for a successor to Les Alberthal since he announced his resignation in August.

After the Brown announcement, several investment banks upgraded their ratings on the stock, including Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan & Co. Analysts had expressed concern that a prolonged search might crimp EDS' ability to land new outsourcing contracts.

But Mark Wolfenberger, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said in a research note he will maintain his "hold" rating, cautioning investors that business problems linger at EDS.

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