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MarketWatch.com to Acquire BigCharts Inc.

San Francisco-based MarketWatch.com Inc. signed a definitive agreement to acquire BigCharts Inc., one of the top-10 trafficked financial sites and a provider of objective, data-driven online financial content for self-directed investors.

The transaction is valued at approximately $160 million in stock and $6 million in cash.

The acquisition will enable MarketWatch.com to increase the number and quality of financial tools it provides investors, enhancing its position as branded Web site for real-time business news and financial programming, the company said.

Minneapolis-based BigCharts said it will be able to integrate MarketWatch.com's proprietary real-time news and commentary into the BigCharts suite of products that it markets to its customers, including many of the major online brokers and financial services companies it serves. BigCharts provides content to 7 of the top 10 online brokers.

"We believe that BigCharts is one of the best in the business at producing useful, attractive and efficient tools for investors," said MarketWatch.com President and CEO Larry Kramer. "They add value to information through packaging and interactive tools. MarketWatch.com, on the other hand, produces the fastest and best financial news on the Internet. Both of us are at the top of the game, and we believe that each of us can contribute exactly what the other needs to be even better."

MarketWatch.com Inc. will exchange approximately 2,175,000 shares of its common stock (including shares issuable upon exercise of assumed BigCharts options), and pay $6 million in cash in exchange for all outstanding BigCharts Inc.'s securities. The deal is expected to close within 30 to 60 days.

BigCharts will retain its key management and be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of MarketWatch.com. MarketWatch.com was launched in October 1997, as a joint venture between CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Data Broadcasting Corp.