RealTime IT News

BlueLight.com Scores $80 Million Investment

Kmart Corp., Softbank Venture Capital and Softbank Capital Partners made an additional investment of $80 million in the independent e-tailing start-up BlueLight.com, founded last December and now in beta.

Kmart will invest $55 million and Softbank an additional $25 million to continue the development of BlueLight.com, which recently announced it has reached the three million-subscriber mark for its free Internet service after just seven months.

BlueLight.com recently launched as a "preview" shopping site, featuring thousands of items such as apparel, home electronics, housewares, toys, sporting goods and Kmart's Martha Stewart Everyday line of home and garden products. When the site formally launches this fall, it will feature hundreds of thousands of products, Kmart said.

"We are very pleased with the performance of BlueLight.com as it continues to set a new standard for online, mass merchandise shopping, supported by the subscription records it has seen on its free Internet service," said Chuck Conaway, chairman and chief executive officer of Kmart. " we continue to see tremendous potential. Our additional investment reinforces our desire to maintain Kmart's majority interest in BlueLight.com."

"Kmart's continued support, along with that of Softbank, will ensure that BlueLight.com will be one of the long-term winners in e-tailing, highlighting the true power of Kmart/BlueLight.com's unique clicks-and-mortar model," said Rex Golding, principal managing director of Softbank Venture Capital.

Also announced today was a new appointment to the BlueLight.com board of directors, Gilbert W. Harrison, current chairman of Financo Inc., a mergers and acquisitions firm specializing in providing financial services to retailing and other merchandising companies.

BlueLight was initially capitalized at $62.5 million last fall -- Softbank put up $50 million and Martha Stewart Inc. put up $12.5 million.