Ha-Lo to Acquire Starbelly.com for $240 Million

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Ha-Lo Industries Inc., Chicago, a $590 million distributor of promotional products and provider of marketing services, yesterday announced its agreement to acquire Starbelly.com, an online customized premium merchandise company, for $240 million. Under terms of the agreement, Starbelly.com shareholders will receive $19 million in cash and newly-issued shares of Ha-Lo common and preferred stock. The transaction is expected to be complete by March.


"Ha-Lo is bringing together the industry's strongest players online and offline," said John Kelley, CEO of Ha-Lo. "The transaction creates a new powerhouse that we believe transforms the industry landscape."


Publicly-held Ha-Lo gains Starbelly's online capabilities, including mass customization technology controlled by customers from ordering to pre-press approval, while Starbelly gets access to Ha-Lo's blue chip client relationships, including Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, Glaxo Wellcome, Procter & Gamble and SBC Communications. The less-than-one-year-old Starbelly, with clients includes Quaker Oats, Trimark Pictures, NBC, Nestle, and AOL, was originally financed by venture capitalists Chase Capital Partners and Flatiron Partners, who both retain an equity interest in the company.


Ha-Lo's Promotional Products Group and Starbelly.com will combine into one division called Starbelly.com. Brad Keywell, CEO of Starbelly.com, becomes president of the new division. Mike Linderman, president of the Promotional Products group, becomes president of the new division.
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