Miva Hires Deutsche Bank to Explore Possible Sale

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Miva Inc. retained investment banking firm Deutsche Bank Securities to help it explore options to boost its share price, including a possible sale of the company, the online marketer said yesterday.

Deutsche Bank will help Miva's board of directors analyze options including the raising of capital through the sale of securities or assets of the company, a recapitalization, strategic acquisitions and the combination, sale or merger of the business with another entity offering strategic opportunities for growth. However, there is no assurance that any transaction will occur, the company said.

In June, search engine FindWhat.com and its divisions -- including pay-per-click marketer Espotting Media and Miva Corp., an e-commerce solutions company -- rebranded into Miva. Its stock has traded in the $4-$7 range since changing its name, down from a 52-week high of $17 on Jan. 10, 2005. Its stock closed yesterday at $5.84, up 5.23 percent. Miva's market value stood at $180 million.

"The board and management believe our current share price does not reflect the inherent value of the company and its opportunities, and the engagement of Deutsche Bank will help us to methodically examine a range of short-term and long-term alternatives as we continue to focus on growing our business," Craig Pisaris-Henderson, chairman/CEO of Miva, Fort Myers, FL, said in a statement.

In August, Miva agreed to pay Yahoo $8 million to settle a patent dispute over who owns the bid-for-placement technology that drives paid search advertising. Miva also agreed to pay an undisclosed ongoing fee to Yahoo for a non-exclusive license to certain patents.

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