Engage Buys AdKnowledge as Online Ad Industry Consolidates

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Consolidation in the online advertising industry is apace with the announcement this week that Engage Technologies Inc. acquired AdKnowledge Inc. in a $193 million stock transaction.

The deal, which follows the summer stock-for-stock merger announcements of Abacus Direct Corp. and NetGravity Inc. with DoubleClick Inc., combines Engage's consumer profile data of online shoppers with AdKnowledge's ability to track the impact of ads on the Internet.

"We've been working on the [Web] site side and we don't really have a relationship with advertisers," said Betsy Zikakis, vice president of marketing at Engage, Andover, MA. "Together [with AdKnowledge], we end up as a company offering services, products and data for all players in the online advertising chain."

The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval for a yearend or early 2000 closure.

Engage currently has a database of 35 million Internet profiles of users' shopping habits and interests. Palo Alto, CA-based AdKnowledge's acquisition will boost that database with the relationships it shares with its advertiser clients.

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