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ValueClick Adds MeziMedia

ValueClick today said it purchased comparison-shopping Web site operator MeziMedia.

ValueClick, an online advertising company that operates the European comparison shopping site PriceRunner, said it will acquire MeziMedia for approximately $100 million in cash. After the deal closes, however, that price could go as high as $352 million, depending on whether certain performance thresholds are met by December 31, 2009.

"MeziMedia gives ValueClick comparison shopping scale in the U.S., greater search marketing expertise and a presence in China, all three of which are key growth initiatives for the Company," ValueClick CEO Tom Vadnais said in a statement.

The presence in China that ValueClick covets is MeziMedia's engineering and operations center in Shanghai, as well as Web sites in China for comparison shopping, coupons and search.

And as for how MeziMedia will help ValueClick scale its comparison-shopping business, ValueClick cites comScore numbers indicating MeziMedia ranked fourth in the June 2007 "Retail - Comparison Shopping" category, with approximately 10.5 million U.S. unique visitors through its Smarter.com comparison shopping and CouponMountain.com online coupon Web sites.

ValueClick also noted that in 2006, MeziMedia generated approximately $40 million in revenue and was EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), operating income, and net income profitable.

In many ways, ValueClick's MeziMedia acquisition marks how far the company and the entire online advertising industry has matured since its initial public offering in 2000.

Back then, advertisers worried if spending money online wasn't a waste of money. At the time, ValueClick eased advertiser and investor concerns with its cost-per-click (CPC) model that made sure advertisers were only charged when their ad did its work.

The online advertising industry survived the market crash that shortly followed ValueClick's IPO and it hasn't looked back since. In 2006, online advertising revenues rose by 34 percent to $16.8 billion compared to 2005 annual tallies, which was the prior record at 30 percent growth ($12.5 billion) over revenues in 2004.

ValueClick said it anticipates the acquisition will close in August, though it remains subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. ValueClick intends to update its 2007 business outlook upon the close of this acquisition.