TargitMail Finds Buyer in E-Tailer

E-mail marketer TargitMail will become a subsidiary of GourmetMarket.com, an
e-commerce site for luxury food and items.

The parties declined to disclose financial terms of GourmetMarket.com’s
purchase of Global Technology Marketing International, Inc. which had been
doing business as Portsmouth, N.H.-based TargitMail.

The acquisition of an e-mail marketing company — which handles list
brokering and delivery — at first seems to make little sense for Boca
Raton, Fla.-based GourmetMarket. But the firm said it aims to morph into an
interactive services holding company.

GourmetMarket.com, which is owned by holding company iiGroup, also said
it’s considering a name change “to better reflect its new focus on
interactive marketing,” as a result of the deal.

“The acquisition of TargitMail represents the first successful
implementation of our company’s new focus on acquisition of interactive
marketing companies,” said GourmetMarket.com chairman and chief executive
Noel Guillama. “TargitMail is an exceptional example of an interactive
marketing company that is using the Internet to create real value for its
customers, for consumers, and for itself. ”

Part of GourmetMarket.com’s bid to become a player in interactive
marketing undoubtedly will come from TargitMail’s 27 million permission
e-mail addresses. GourmetMarket also has control of TargitMail’s
technology, which enables marketers to create and deliver personalized
e-mails to opt-in recipients.

While GourmetMarket says its purchasing a leader in the space —
TargitMail’s sales increased from approximately $2 million in 1999 to over
$6 million in 2000, it said — the entire industry has been buffeted by
slipping revenues and weakening in demand.

However, Guillama said he believed the e-mail marketing industry has
“recently achieved critical mass … as the critical advertising
application for the future.”

“We know that TargitMail is well positioned to capitalize on this
explosive growth,” he added.

The purchase wraps up an on-again, off-again relationship with iiGroup,
which in December said it was going to buy the e-mail marketer. But in
March, iiGroup allowed its letter of intent to expire, citing its inability
to the $3 million needed to make the purchase.

iiGroup did not return requests for comment.

Earlier this year, partially ad-supported ISP Juno filed a $3.3 million
lawsuit against TargitMail, alleging the e-mail firm didn’t pay a fee for
Juno’s letting it market to its subscribers. That suit has yet to come to
court.

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