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CMGI Adds AdForce to Growing List of Internet Assets

Internet incubator CMGI Inc. Monday added another familiar name to its growing list of Internet companies by snagging AdForce Inc. in a stock deal valued at $500 million.

CMGI (CMGI) will give AdForce shareholders .262 shares of CMGI stock in a deal that values AdForce at about $21 a share. Earlier this year, AdForce was trading at about three times that level, significantly above its IPO price of $15.

Shortly after the deal was announced, CMGI shares were up 2-15/16 to 82-15/16 and AdForce was up 15/16 to 20-7/16.

AdForce was hit hard by Yahoo! Inc.'s (YHOO) acquisition of GeoCities as GeoCities was its third-largest customer. Yahoo! opted to manage GeoCities' advertising traffic itself.

In July, the company issued a statement saying it had replaced most of the business lost by Yahoo!'s GeoCities deal, however the stock never returned to its earlier levels.

Shortly after the GeoCities deal was announced, AdForce and Yahoo! entered into a third-party ad serving agreement, authorizing AdForce to serve ads on behalf of advertisers on Yahoo!'s global network of Web properties.

Earlier this year, AdForce reached a deal to become the primary advertising company for the Adsmart Network. Adsmart and Engage are CMGI's two other Internet advertising properties.

Chuck Berger, AdForce chairman and chief executive officer said the acquisition will position AdForce as a leader in state-of-the-art ad delivery.

"The combination of AdForce's state-of-the-art ad delivery and CMGI's leading content and infrastructure companies will create a new kind of digital marketing company...," he said.

CMGI's AdForce acquisition comes after a busy summer for the Internet holding company. In June, CMGI acquired 83 percent of AltaVista from Compaq Computer Corp. for $2.3 billion. That deal also included Shopping.com and city guide site Zip2.

That deal was bad news for Internet ad leader DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK) as AltaVista once accounted for 30 percent of its revenues. Speculation is AltaVista will move to CMGI-owned Adsmart or Engage once its current contract expires.