24/7 Real Media Gets $5M in Venture Capital

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Online advertising network and technology company 24/7 Real Media Inc. has received $5 million in equity investment from San Francisco firm Merchants Group International's Sunra Capital Holdings Limited subsidiary.

The venture capital company will become a significant, though not majority, shareholder of 24/7 Real Media. Sunra has the option to invest another $2 million in the New York company.

"Although a rising tide would lift all boats, we strongly believe that 24/7 Real Media has weathered the worst of the storm and is now on track to achieve sustained growth and profitability," said Mark Naples, vice president of marketing, investor relations and privacy officer at 24/7 Real Media.

As a result of this investment, Joseph W. Waechter, managing director of Sunra, has been appointed to the 24/7 Real Media board of directors.

A merger between the 4-year-old 24/7 and Real Media in October led to the creation of 24/7 Real Media. Targeting marketers and publishers, 24/7 Real Media offers services like ad serving and management, Web site advertising and representation, e-mail list marketing and management, ad measurement, search engine optimization and online promotions.

Clients include weather.com, CBSMarketWatch.com, YellowPages.com, Hollywood Stock Exchange at hsx.com, expedia.ca, the "If You" brands and, most recently, Online Travel Co. in Britain.

In May, opt-in consumer data collector Naviant Inc. bought a majority interest in 24/7 Real Media's mail division. The company claims this will create the largest online permission-based direct marketing firm. That deal was followed quickly by settling a lawsuit with Advertising.com over an ad serving patent. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Still, like many companies offering Internet marketing and technology services, 24/7 Real Media has suffered in the stock market.

As of deadline time July 2, its stock was trading at 22 cents in Nasdaq's SmallCap market. The stock was transferred June 6 from Nasdaq's National Market to SmallCap.

To regain its National Market listings, 24/7 Real Media will have to comply with Nasdaq's $1 minimum bid price rule. The company had until Aug. 13 to meet this requirement or get a $5 million equity investment to extend the grace period by another 180 days to Feb. 10, 2003.

The investment from Sunra could not have come at a more opportune moment. It also will help 24/7 Real Media compete against DoubleClick Inc. and L90, soon to become MaxWorldwide.

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