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DoubleClick to fortify e-mail marketing

The online advertising company, which has been building its e-mail marketing services since last year, plans to purchase FloNetwork in a cash-and-stock deal.

    Fresh from weathering the latest privacy storm surrounding its business practices, online advertising company DoubleClick on Friday said it plans to purchase an e-mail marketing-technology maker in a cash-and-stock deal.

    The acquisition of Toronto-based FloNetwork gives DoubleClick a greater hand in providing software and services that let businesses communicate with their customers through targeted e-mail campaigns, the company said in a statement. The deal must win approval from FloNetwork shareholders and from the Canadian and U.S. governments. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Friday's deal comes after New York-based DoubleClick's failed attempt to buy e-mail marketer NetCreations, which agreed to be acquired by Italian conglomerate Seat Pagine Gialle for $111 million in December. Since the middle of last year, DoubleClick has been building its e-mail marketing services to diversify its offerings. The FloNetwork deal gives the company a trajectory in the market.

    DoubleClick is also recuperating from controversy sparked by privacy advocates concerned about the company's plans to merge online and offline data.

    The controversy reached a high-water mark when the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into the matter a year ago. It dropped the probe last month.

    FloNetwork builds marketing automation technology and provides services for businesses to market to and communicate with customers over the Internet. CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, has a stake in FloNetwork.

    FloNetwork says that in the fourth quarter of 2000 it delivered over 540 million e-mails on behalf of more than 150 publishers, merchants and advertising agencies, including L.L.Bean, Procter & Gamble, Buy.com and Continental Airlines.

    News.com's Stefanie Olsen contributed to this report.