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Red Hat Rises on Fourth-Quarter Results

Linux specialist Red Hat enjoys a fourth-quarter revenue hike, but profit slips.

Shares of open source software specialist

Red Hat

(RHT) - Get Red Hat, Inc. Report

rose in extended trading Wednesday after the firm saw its fourth-quarter revenue grow almost 20%.

The firm's reported revenue of $166.2 million, an increase of 18% from the year-ago quarter and roughly in line with analysts' estimate of $166.99 million.

Revenue from software subscription drove Red Hat's growth, growing 14% year over year to $139.4 million.

Investors responded positively to the results, and Red Hat's shares rose 60 cents, or 4%, to $15.60, in after-hours trading.

"Our value proposition is even more compelling in a challenging economic environment, and we believe that's a key driver to our solid financial results and market share gains," said Jim Whitehurst, the Red Hat CEO, in a statement.

Red Hat's profit, however, fell year-over-year. The company reported earnings of 8 cents a share on net income of $16 million, compared to earnings of 10 cents a share and net income of $22 million in the prior year's quarter.

Excluding charges, Red Hat earned 22 cents a share on net income of $42.3 million, compared to 21 cents and $45.7 million in the same period last year. Analysts had estimated earnings of 20 cents a share.

For the full year, Red Hat's total revenue was $652.6 million, an increase of 25% over the prior year, but just below analysts' estimate of $653.64 million.

Shares of the Linux specialist

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climbed steeply

then tumbled earlier this week following


that Red Hat could become an


(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

acquisition target.

This is not the first time that M&A chatter has swirled around the two firms, although a deal is seen as unlikely given the uncertainty clouding the technology market. There is a question mark, for example, hanging over IBM's long-term support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux if the company acquires

Sun Microsystems


Open Solaris. Oracle may also be unlikely to make a major acquisition after recently announcing its

first-ever dividend