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Primedia Drives to the Net, with CMGI's Help

Seeking to enter the lucrative vertical market space, magazine publisher Primedia Thursday secured multi-million dollar deals with CMGI Inc. and Liberty Media Group.

Both Liberty and CMGI (CMGI) will acquire 5 percent of Primedia (PRM). CMGI will pay for its stake with 1.53 million shares of its stock (approximately $167 million).

Liberty, the cable TV division of AT&T Corp. (T), will invest $200 million in cash into the publisher of New York, Automobile and Seventeen magazines, with the option of buying a 12.5 percent stake in Primedia's newly-created broadband video unit in the future.

CMGI will support Primedia's development of vertical content in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) categories, such as agribusiness, digital entertainment, electrical/construction and telecommunications. The B2B ventures will cover vertical online communities being developed by Primedia's IndustryClick, the company's B2B portal.

Liberty will work with Primedia to develop consumer broadband video and other interactive applications for Primedia's portfolio of content.

"...We've reorganized the company to maximize our ability to integrate old media and new media operations...," said Tom Rogers, chairman and chief executive officer of Primedia. "We are moving fast to reshape Primedia and there will be much more progress to come."