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Hello Direct Acquires PhoneZone.com

Hello Direct Inc., a developer and direct marketer of desktop telephone productivity tools, said it will acquire privately held PhoneZone.com, which publishes a Web buyers guide covering telecommunications and networking products and services.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. PhoneZone.com, founded in 1996, is a source of comparative research, analysis, and purchase information on telecom and networking solutions for small and medium-size companies.

Alec Glover, Hello Direct's chief executive officer, said that more aggressive Internet channel development is one of the key elements in the company's growth strategy.

"The Internet is our most exciting and fastest growing channel, already approaching 10 percent of our total quarterly revenue and growing at more than a doubling rate year on year in 1998," he said. "This acquisition positions us to dramatically accelerate our electronic commerce initiative. . ."

For the nine months ended September 30, 1998, Hello Direct reported net sales of $51.5 million. PhoneZone.com's revenues for 1998 were approximately $1.2 million.

"PhoneZone.com provides small and home office buyers with an easy way to locate, compare and buy telecom products and services, from low cost dial tone to emerging technologies like Internet telephony and next generation PBX's," said Brian McConnell, PhoneZone.com's president and founder. "With the marketing support of an industry leader such as Hello Direct, we will be able to turn one of the best kept secrets on the Web into a mainstream marketplace."

Hello Direct develops and markets telephone productivity tools including headsets, teleconferencing, wireless and related desktop products.