RealTime IT News Pays $166 Million for BigCharts Inc. Thursday acquired BigCharts Inc., a provider of financial tools and information, for $166 million in cash and stock. said the acquisition will allow it to increase the quality and quantity of financial tools it provides investors and will enhance its position as a provider of real-time financial and business news programming.

BigCharts will also integrate MarketWatch content into its products, which are offered by many of the major online brokers and other financial services companies.

Larry Kramer, president and chief executive officer, said BigCharts is one of the best at producing attractive and efficient tools for investors.

"By combining these businesses, we have the opportunity to create a dominant company by substantially increasing our audience reach and pursuing multiple revenue streams," he said.

Philip Hotchkiss, BigCharts president and chief executive officer, said the deal gives his company a chance to expand what is already a fast-growing business.

"We have built and hold an audience approaching 1 million unique monthly users, established a broad network of content distribution partners and built close relationships with the market leaders in online brokerage, financial publishing and portals. Under the umbrella, we have the opportunity to leverage their distribution and reach to broaden the services we provide to our content licensing clients and to enhance the user experience...," he said.

MarketWatch will exchange 2.175 million shares and $6 million in cash for all outstanding shares of BigCharts Inc. The acquisition, which has already been approved by both companies' boards, is expected to close in 30 to 60 days.