Staples, MSN Pen Co-Marketing Agreement

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Staples Inc. and MSN, a division of Microsoft Corp., will expand their promotional relationship as part of a three-year deal announced yesterday.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Under a previous arrangement between the two companies, Staples promoted MSN's Internet service to its office-supplies retail store customers.

Staples will begin placing additional signs for the Internet service throughout 830 of its 1,300 stores. The signs will showcase special service rates, including a three-month free trial, $75 off for nine months, one year of free service and a $200 discount on a Staples purchase in exchange for a two-year sign-up. The offers also will be made in the Staples catalog beginning in July.

Seattle-based MSN, which has 5 million subscribers, will provide training accessories designed to help Staples' employees demonstrate the Internet service.

Staples believes promoting MSN will encourage its customer base to buy more Web-related items such as computers and hand-held digital devices, said Dave Figler, director of merchandising at Staples, Framingham, MA.

The Internet service, when bought through Staples, will entail a co-branded home page that will feature multiple offers from The retailer's site also will receive top placement on MSN's office/electronics and supplies/furniture channels.

The firms will likely run co-branded e-mail campaigns as a result of the deal, Fingler said. Staples has 1 million registered users at its Web site, but he would not divulge how many of those names had opted in for e-mail offers.

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