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Yahoo! to Acquire Viaweb

Yahoo! Inc. today announced it signed a definitive agreement to purchase electronic commerce provider Viaweb, Inc. for approximately $49 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! said it will issue about 455,000 shares of its common stock in exchange for all outstanding Viaweb shares, options and warrants, and the acquisition, expected to be completed this month, will be accounted for as a purchase.

In addition, Yahoo! said it expects to incur a one-time charge of approximately $45 million during the 1998 second fiscal quarter because of technology purchases related to the deal.

The portal player contends that the acquisition of Cambridge, MA-based Viaweb, a developer of e-commerce software and reporting tools, is part of its strategy aimed at growing the Yahoo! merchant services program. The program is targeted at small and medium-sized companies looking to develop and operate virtual "storefronts" or e-commerce centers.

In conjunction with today's acquisition, Yahoo! announced the launch of the Yahoo! Store, an offering designed to furnish e-tailers with development, design, hosting, promotional, and tracking support via a Web browser and point-and-click interface.

"With the rapid growth of online commerce, we've had tremendous demand among businesses of all sizes to establish online stores and to secure distribution on Yahoo!," said Tim Koogle, president and CEO, Yahoo! Inc., in a statement. "With the Viaweb acquisition, we are expanding our services to reach a broader audience of both merchants and Web users."