Experian to Acquire Exactis From 24/7 Media

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Experian is buying 24/7 Media Inc.'s Exactis e-mail marketing division for $13.5 million in cash.

"We've been seeing a growing demand from our client base for permission-based e-mail marketing services," said Deb Zuccarini, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Experian Marketing Solutions, Orange, CA.

Experian previously had a relationship with FloNetwork but wanted an inhouse turnkey e-mail solution to offer its clients, Zuccarini said.

Although the deal is not yet finalized, it is expected to be complete by the end of this month.

Apparently, a pending lawsuit brought against Exactis by Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC did not affect Experian's decision to buy the firm.

The MAPS lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial in late July, alleges that Exactis failed to take measures to prevent spam from getting through its servers.

"We believe very strongly that Exactis is going to prevail in that lawsuit," Zuccarini said. "We believe they really consistently employ best practices about privacy and consumer information."

The sale of Exactis comes at a time when 24/7 Media is in desperate need of cash, having burned through more than $15 million in 2000. The company ended the year with $28.9 million in cash but reduced that to just $13.7 million in the first quarter of this year.

The sale is 24/7 Media's third transaction this month. On May 3 it sold the intellectual property of Sabela Media Inc., its Australian ad tracking, serving and research subsidiary, to cross-town rival DoubleClick Inc. 24/7 Media acquired Sabela Media in January 2000.

One week after the transaction with DoubleClick, 24/7 Media announced the sale of its AwardTrack loyalty software division to Pass Privilege Inc. It acquired AwardTrack in February for about $75 million in stock.

While New York-based 24/7 Media did not disclose the financial terms of the Sabela Media and AwardTrack deals, it said in a conference call with analysts that these deals, along with the sale of securities, netted it $6.3 million in the second quarter.

Once Experian's acquisition of Exactis is complete, it will begin offering its clients e-mail services such as subscription management, personalized content, click-through tracking, open mail tracking, client format sensing, Web-based reporting and verified opt-in addresses.

Experian will continue the permission-based e-mail delivery policies of Exactis, Zuccarini said.

Exactis will continue to operate out of its Denver office, with Tom Detmer heading the unit as senior vice president and general manager.


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