RealTime IT News

NetZero Throws Money At E-Commerce Biz

NetZero Inc. will dole out a load of cash to put e-commerce firm RocketCash Corp. in its pocket.

The nation's leading free Internet service provider Thursday signed an agreement to acquire the privately-held transaction-facilitating firm.

In order to seal the deal, NetZero intends to issue approximately 5.6 million shares of its common stock.

Based on Wednesday's close, the transaction is valued at more than $36 million. Subject to various closing conditions, the transaction should be completed during the third quarter of this year.

RocketCash provides an online gateway to the Net that enables consumers, particularly the teen market, to buy on the Internet without a credit card. The deal marks NetZero's goal to expand its e-commerce services and enhance its revenue streams.

Mark Goldston, NetZero chairman and chief executive officer, said RocketCash would appeal to all of its users, in particular, the booming e-commerce potential of the teen marketplace.

"The teen market is an important segment for e-commerce, and to date there have been limited means of enabling teens to purchase online without a credit card," Goldston said. "Retailers the world over recognize the huge potential for e-commerce, which up to this point has been limited by the trepidation of consumers to provide credit card information online. RocketCash solves that problem."

NetZero intends to utilize RocketCash's proprietary currency exchange and payment processing technology to create a robust merchant network for NetZero's more than 4 million registered users.

Goldston said the deal would greatly enhance its e-commerce strategy and provide users with another free service of exceptional value.

"Making the shopping experience quick and easy, RocketCash enables members to purchase items and services online securely without a credit card," Goldston said. "RocketCash users can easily fund an account with a check, money order, gift certificate or credit card, it can meld any kind of online and offline currencies into one place."

RocketCash technology enables consumers to aggregate various forms of currencies, including online incentive dollars, offline promotional points, gift certificates, money orders, personal checks and U.S. dollars into one account. The gateway acts as an intermediary between online shoppers and merchants.

RocketCash's data capabilities combined with NetZero's proprietary zCast technology enable the nation's leading free ISP to provide its users with targeted online redemption coupons and advertisements. RocketCash has agreements with over 110 top-tier e-tailers that are part of the its merchant network.

Jeffrey A. Mason, RocketCash chief executive officer, said the firm would be able to broadly expand its services through NetZero.

"By serving as the engine for NetZero's merchant network and gaining access to its registered users, RocketCash will continue to be a leader in providing shopping and currency exchange on the Internet without the need for a credit card," Mason said.

"We look forward to bringing our e-commerce and payment processing expertise to NetZero as we continue to develop the RocketCash brand and services," Mason added.