A Canadian digital imaging firm will be paring down the number of resellers that worked with a graphics firm it has acquired.

ACD Systems International Inc. Tuesday said it will pay US$5.5 million for Deneba Systems Inc., a privately-held firm based in Miami, Fla. While ACD Systems, based in Victoria, is best known for its ACDSee picture viewer and digital camera software, Deneba focuses on an illustration and photo editing suite called Canvas.

Mike Zelen, ACD Systems’ president and CEO, told a conference call for financial analysts that Deneba would in most respects continue to operate as a standalone entity, but Canvas and other products would be directed towards ACD’s preferred channel of electronic software distribution (ESD). While Deneba has made some forays in this area, Zelen said Deneba has also traditionally mixed direct sales and resellers.

“”It’s not strictly over the phone — they do a lot of site visits,”” he said. “”Their philosophy is that they want to get very deep with their target corporation.””

Resellers and distributors have sometimes been necessary for Deneba, Zelen added, because the company has tried to reach the strategic decision-maker within corporations to make a purchase decision.

“”I don’t think that we can look at simply addressing or putting Deneba Canvas to all of our distributors and resellers,”” he said. “”We’re going to have to pick and choose the ones where it is appropriate.””

ACD’s channel partners include Toronto-based Softchoice Corp., which strengthened its ESD capabilities last year through the acquisition of Beyond.com’s e-government unit. Dave MacDonald, Softchoice’s president, said corporations have been turning to ESD to deploy applications more selectively in a just-in-time sort of model.

“”I think that consumers are interested in software in a very convenient format when they’re downloading just one copy of it,”” he said. “”I think in our environment, where there’s licensing, the need is different.””

Zelen said ACD would do a number of test e-mails in order to prepare Canvas for the ESD model.

“”The thing with ESD is, if you’re going to do it professionally, you plan your campaigns well in advance,”” he said. “”The reality is that for the most part, we have our campaigns planned and tied into the release of ACDSee 6 this fall. We’re going to create an opening for Canvas.””

MacDonald cautioned that size matters to many of ACD’s potential Canvas customers.

“”A lot of people are reluctant to download 300 or 400MB files, which they often are,”” he said.

The Deneba deal is ACD’s second this month. Last week it paid $2.1 million for Lin

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