Excite@Home Will Purchase iMall for $425M

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Excite@Home said it will buy e-commerce systems firm iMall Inc. for about $425 million in stock, and the Redwood City, CA, company also struck a deal with First Data Corp.'s Merchant Services unit to take advantage of its e-commerce payment processing technologies.


As the new company is envisioned, iMall will continue to operate as an independent unit of Excite@Home. Santa Monica, CA-based iMall sets up merchants with electronic storefronts. It also operates shopping portals that feature its customers.


The agreement combines Excite@Home's consumer traffic, iMall's commerce services and First Data's back-end payment services. Portal and Internet service provider Excite@Home plans to market the First Data/iMall package through @Work, the company's business-to-business unit. The division sells Net access and hosting services.


Excite@Home also hopes its online shopping area will benefit as First Data's financial industry partners begin promoting the new combined e-commerce service and merchants build Web storefronts. First Data, Atlanta, provides transaction processing to businesses, and is one of the largest US third-party processors of credit card transactions.


Under the terms of the iMall acquisition, Excite@Home will issue 8.3 million shares and will assume iMall's outstanding options and warrants. Shareholders who together hold more than 40 percent of the outstanding stock of iMall - including CEO Richard Rosenblatt - have already agreed to vote in favor of the transaction.
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