Internet

InfoBeat to sell operations to Sony

The publisher of email newsletters and other dispatches is selling its name and its content business to Sony in order to focus on its services arm.

InfoBeat is selling its name and its content business to Sony in order to focus on its services arm.

The publisher of email newsletters and other dispatches, formerly known as Mercury Mail, next week will announce that it is selling the InfoBeat name and its 2 million-strong subscriber list to Sony Music Entertainment. Sony will assume the editorial responsibilities for InfoBeat's email dispatches, which cover topics including finance, news, weather, sports, entertainment, snow reports, and classified ads.

Under the terms of the sale, Sony will become one of InfoBeat's clients as the Denver-based firm focuses exclusively on its business of managing email distribution. That arm of the business currently goes by the name InfoBeat Express.

InfoBeat's 30 other email list management clients include Charles Schwab, AmericanExpress, Amazon.com, and MSNBC.

InfoBeat founder and chairman John Funk said the new arrangement would benefit everyone involved.

"We're going to be the mail engine; they're going to be the media engine," he said. "The subscribers win because they get all the resources of Sony Music and Sony Entertainment. Sony wins because it acquired the premier email list brand name. And we win because we can focus on doing something we do really, really well."

The firm will assume the name Exactis and launch a Web site at exactis.com.

Services firms are enjoying boom times these days, with double-digit growth expected for the foreseeable future. Email services, which are increasingly important in customer-retention and transactions, are no exception; Forrester Research last year projected that the email service industry would grow from $8.5 million to nearly $1 billion in four years.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sony declined to comment on the sale, which was first reported by ZDNet.