Bye Bye Exactis; Hello 24/7 Media

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Though it was four months in the making, the closure last week of 24/7 Media's merger with Exactis.com nevertheless provided eye-catching results.


24/7 Media and Exactis.com announced on June 27 that their boards had approved the deal. The conversion was immediate. By the next morning, the Exactis.com name all but disappeared as the New York-based online ad network wholly absorbed the e-mail marketing provider.


Exactis.com immediately took the 24/7 Media name. All phone calls to Exactis' Denver headquarters were answered, "24/7 Media." Its employees suddenly sported 24/7 business cards. And perhaps most surprisingly, visitors to the Exactis.com Web site were redirected instantly to the 24/7 Mail Web page.


Attendees at the Catalog Conference & Exposition in San Francisco late last month witnessed the conversion firsthand. During the show, the companies replaced the Exactis booth signage with 24/7 promotional materials.


"Obviously, we knew this was coming, and we knew when the deal would close," said Victoria Pearson, a spokeswoman for the 24/7 unit that was formerly Exactis.com. "We really did put a lot of effort into making a quick transition."


Now comes the tougher challenge of convincing 24/7 and Exactis clients to buy into the extra services that the combined company says it can now provide.


When 24/7 announced in February its intentions to purchase Exactis, the online media and marketing firm cited several reasons for its interest. Near the top of that list was a desire to significantly increase 24/7's ability to reach consumers via e-mail and to provide a full customer relationship management complement -- customer acquisition, retention and growth -- to its e-mail offerings.


With Exactis and its e-mail deployment skills now under its wings, 24/7 believes it has achieved that goal. David Moore, 24/7 president/CEO, said the deal combines Exactis' e-mail delivery and data mining with 24/7 Mail's 23 million e-mail addresses and the global reach of the 24/7 Media network.


"We're now able to offer our thousands of combined clients an end-to-end CRM solution that will help them acquire and retain new customers and grow existing ones using both e-mail and the World Wide Web," Moore said. For its part, Exactis gains access to the 24/7 Mail database, as well as its Web and wireless ad serving products.


As per the original agreement, 24/7 is paying 0.60 shares of 24/7 Media common stock in exchange for each share of Exactis common stock -- a sum that works out to approximately $490 million.


While Exactis has become a wholly owned 24/7 Media subsidiary, it will maintain its Denver operations. In addition, the companies said there would be no changes to client account management.


Some things still need to be worked out, however. For example, 24/7 has not decided yet what title Tom Detmer -- former president/CEO of Exactis.com -- will have in the new arrangement.
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