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Valueclick Snaps Up Commission Junction

Online ad technology company ValueClick, Inc. (Quote, Chart), announced late today it signed an agreement to acquire affiliate marketing technology and services company Commission Junction for an aggregate purchase price of $58 million in cash, ValueClick common stock and stock options.

The pickup, ValueClick's eighth acquisition in three years, helps position the company as the largest affiliate marketing player. The deal is expected to close next month, pending regulatory approval.

In early 2002, ValueClick acquired another major affiliate marketing tech player, Be Free, in a $128 million all-stock deal.

John Ardis, ValueClick VP of corporate strategy, said his company's reasoning for the acquisition was "additional scale. This doubles our footprint in the marketplace. Our goal is to be Number One or Number Two in the space. This makes us the industry leader in affiliate marketing."

Ardis expects Commission Junction to compliment the offerings of the Be Free subsidiary. "Commission Junction has focused on automation side. Be Free has traditionally handled large accts with high-touch customer offerings," he noted.

Commission Junction will somehow be combined with Be Free, but details have not been determined. A name for the affiliate unit, staffing and structure are still unresolved. "It's too early to tell," said Ardis.

Be Free powers affiliate marketing programs for over 200 retailers, including Best Buy, CitiFinancial, Staples, and Travelocity. Clients CJ brings to the table include MSN, eBay, Overture, and Quicken Loans; as well as international clients Expedia, Marbles and Marks and Spencer.

Affiliate marketing is presently a $95 billion industry. Forrester Research recently predicted it will grow to $230 billion by 2008.