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iVillage to acquire rival Women.com

The acquisition, which is valued at about $47 million, will result in the largest women-targeted site on the Web.

    iVillage said Monday it will acquire rival Women.com in a move that will result in the largest women-targeted site on the Web.

    The company also reported a fourth-quarter loss that beat analysts forecasts and lowered its expectations for the first quarter.

    iVillage said it will swap 0.322 shares of iVillage common stock for each share of Women.com. In addition, iVillage will pay about $250,000 in cash. The entire transaction is valued at $47 million, based on iVillage's closing stock price of $1.69 on Feb. 2.

    Women.com shares closed at 72 cents Monday and have traded as high as $15 in the past year. iVillage shares, which traded above $100 at the height of the dot-com boom, are now below $2. Its shares traded at $1.75 in after-hours activity on the Island ECN, following the news.

    The companies said they will use their combined resources to develop additional revenue streams, such as subscription plans, and perhaps create a separate research company.

    "By joining together, we will further elevate iVillage and provide women online with an even broader spectrum of offerings than ever before," Women.com Chief Executive Marleen McDaniel said in a statement.

    The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2001.

    For the fourth quarter, iVillage posted on Monday a narrower-than-expected loss at $9.8 million, or 33 cents per share. A trio of analysts surveyed by earnings tracking company First Call predicted a fourth-quarter loss of 38 cents per share.

    Fourth-quarter revenue of $18.7 million from continuing operations was roughly in line with analyst expectations, which ranged from $18.6 million to $19.4 million, according to First Call.

    iVillage sees first-quarter revenue of $12 million to $14 million. Analysts' revenue estimates ranged from $19.5 million to $20.3 million, according to First Call.

    Revenue growth for the full 2001 should be in the single-digits on a percentage basis as the company tries to expand paid content, newsletters and subscription services, iVillage said.

    Also Monday, iVillage said Hearst would spend $20 million for a stake in the company. Hearst will receive 9.3 million shares and warrants to purchase an additional 2.1 million shares.

    iVillage has about 29.7 million shares outstanding, according to MarketGuide.

    Hearst, which will get seats on the iVillage board, also agreed to buy $15 million to $21 million in production and advertising services from iVillage over a three-year period. Hearst, which owns 46 percent of Women.com, has agreed to the acquisition, the companies said.