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Individual on a buying spree

Individual announces its second acquisition of a Web news service in two weeks, adding electronic newspaper ClariNet to its stable.

Individual (INDV) today announced that it will buy electronic newspaper ClariNet Communications, its second acquisition of a Web news service in two weeks. The company also announced an upgrade to its NewsPage service.

Individual swapped 1.5 million shares for employee-owned ClariNet, putting the purchase price at about $7.6 million. Individual shares traded unchanged at 5-1/8 this morning. The transaction is expected to close next week.

On June 6, Individual acquired CompanyLink, a research service with profiles on 65,000 companies, from Delphi Internet Services under undisclosed terms.

ClariNet, with annual revenues of about $3.9 million, says it has more than 1.5 million subscribers and provides more than 3,500 stories per day, with updates every ten minutes. All of its 40 employees will become Individual staff.

The acquisitions followed Individual's decision to close FreeLoader, an offline browser service, on May 28 after failing to attract a buyer or outside investor.

Individual also unveiled an upgrade of its personalized news service, NewsPage, incorporating new capabilities from both ClariNet and CompanyLink.

The upgrade adds breaking news by business topic, plus a reference service for company and industry research.

Individual's services now include First, NewsPage, Heads Up, Hoover, and ClariNews, whose subscribers will have uninterrupted service. Combined circulation for the services is more than 2 million, including those who receive one of the services through 350 ISPs and corporations.