Net marketing company ValueClick says it has agreed to buy Be Free, an online affiliate marketer, in a deal worth about $128 million. Under the financial terms, ValueClick will issue about 43.4 million shares to acquire Be Free's outstanding stock, exchanging 0.65882 a share for each share of Be Free. At the merger's completion, expected by the end of the second quarter, Be Free's stockholders will own approximately 45 percent of the combined company. The new company, based in Westlake Village, Calif., will take ValueClick's name. The merger is subject to approval by the stockholders of two companies and federal regulators.
Through the union, ValueClick expects to build its position as an Internet marketing powerhouse. ValueClick has acquired a handful of companies in the last two years. Among others, it bought ad technology company Mediaplex and AdWare Systems, which sells agency management software.