SEAT Pagine Gialle's U.S. Subsidiary Buys 40% stake in ICOM

ICOM Information & Communications Inc., a direct-to-consumer and database marketing solutions provider, announced last week that SEAT Pagine Gialle SpA, Italy's largest Internet service provider and a publisher of telephone directories, has purchased a 40 percent stake in the company.

The purchase was made through SEAT's wholly owned subsidiary NetCreations Inc., the e-mail marketing provider.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

ICOM, Toronto, develops knowledge-based solutions for one-to-one and database marketing programs. ICOM collects information on brand purchases, volume of use, lifestyles and demographics using a survey that reaches more than 50 million North American households a year, making its database the largest self-reported consumer responder database in North America with information about 18 million U.S. households and 2.5 million Canadian households. ICOM is the leading supplier of targeted communication programs for the packaged goods industry in North America.

SEAT said the acquisition would strengthen its North American presence.

Besides the NetCreations subsidiary, SEAT's other acquisitions include a majority stake in France's Consodata, a provider of business-to-consumer marketing information and e-mail marketing services, and its German subsidiary, Pan Address.

“This investment is part of a long-term business strategy to form a strong global offline and online information marketing network with a very strong North American presence through acquisitions of and investments in successful information marketing businesses,” said Marc Henon, chairman of Consodata.

Under the terms of the deal, ICOM's three founding partners and co-owners, Alan Levine, Harvey Beck and Doug McCormick, will continue to hold the majority share of ICOM. They will serve on the board of directors of ICOM along with two directors appointed by SEAT. Alan Levine will continue as the CEO of ICOM.

Over the next three years, SEAT holds two purchase options that are expected eventually to give SEAT ownership of ICOM.

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