Amazon Invests in CatalogCity.com

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Aiming to draw business and traffic from catalog shoppers, Amazon.com Inc. has invested in Altura International, the Monterey, CA-based parent of CatalogCity.com.


The Seattle retailer issued 717,316 shares of common stock based on the Nov. 8 closing price of $6.97. This values the investment at $5 million, according to an Amazon regulatory filing Nov. 9.


Founded in 1997, CatalogCity.com claims to be the world's largest online mall for catalog shoppers.


Site visitors can buy products from catalogs including Lane Bryant, Orvis, Blair Corp.'s Crossing Pointe, Cheryl&Co., Frontgate, Paul Fredrick, Chef's, Carabella, Hammacher Schlemmer, Ross-Simons, The Sharper Image, Fisher-Price, Gump's By Mail and Bombay Co.


Using its Altura Merchant Operating System, Altura has developed more than 30 e-commerce shopping options for brands like AOL, Yahoo, iVillage, Excite and MasterCard. On Oct. 1, Altura announced a deal with SportsLine.com Inc. to build a co-branded site at sportsline.catalogcity.com.


As with many Amazon deals, the acquisition of an unspecified stake in Altura will result in a quid pro quo. CatalogCity.com merchants will be featured on Amazon's site. In return, Amazon's range of books, music, videos and DVDs will be featured on CatalogCity.com.


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