InfoSpace.com Forms ‘Union’ with B2B Service Provider

Internet infrastructure company InfoSpace.com, a provider of content and e-commerce services to affiliate Web sites, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Seattle, Washington-based company Union-Street.com. Union-Street.com offers a variety of business-to-business services and community features, including private label e-mail, address books, calendars, chat, personal home pages and message boards.

Under the terms of the deal, InfoSpace.com will exchange 450,000 shares of common stock for 100 percent of Union-Street.com. Wall Street’s initial reaction has been positive, as shares of InfoSpace.com climbed 2-5/8 to 40-3/8 in early trading today. At that stock price, the purchase is valued at more than $18 million (US$).

“Web communities are the realization of how to build relationship marketing on the Web,” said Naveen Jain, chairman and CEO of InfoSpace.com. “The addition of these additional online business-to-business services, such as private label e-mail services, will help our affiliates offer users more compelling reasons to stay on their site longer and also target users for direct marketing opportunities, increasing e-commerce and advertising revenues.”

More than 1,800 Web sites are part of InfoSpace.com’s affiliate network. These affiliates include America Online, Netscape, Microsoft, Lycos, the Go Network, Snap.com, DoubleClick, Network Solution, MetaCrawler, The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition and ABC LocalNet.

Other Partners

One of Union-Street.com’s largest partners is LivingHome.com, an online home-improvement resource. LivingHome.com’s network of sites include VizualizeHome.com, PlansPlace.com, LazyHomeowner.com and GetArtSmart.com. Union-Street.com is offering free personal start pages, forums, calendars, e-mail, a Web page creator and a personal content manager to LivingHome.com visitors.

UnionStreet.com is also offering similar services for financial destination site futilemind.net, gardening site etera.com and Safeconnect, a family-oriented Internet service provider backed by Hallmark.

More to Come

InfoSpace.com may also be close to making other acquisitions. Last Tuesday, the company announced that it was in discussions to purchase online auction technology company OpenSite Technologies, which powers auctions for businesses such as Sharper Image, John Deere and Playboy.

One day later, InfoSpace.com and BellSouth announced a partnership to deliver customizable content and information during a trial run of BellSouth’s Internet-enabled cellular phones. InfoSpace.com already has agreements with other providers of Internet access devices including @Home, UnWired Planet, InfoGear, Mitel, Mitsui and Lucent Technologies.

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