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Ticketmaster buys 2b for $23 million

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMCS) said Wednesday it would buy 2b Technology, a privately held ticketing firm for about $23 million in Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch stock. Ticketmaster said the acquisition will improve its ties to local community and cultural institutions.

In a separate release, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch said it would roll out local ticketing services.

Shares in Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch have taken a dip in the past few days despite just having beaten estimates for its fourth quarter.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 2b is a visitor management and ticketing firm targeted at venues such as higher volume museums, cultural institutions and historic sites. 2b has over 300 clients including the British Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Dallas Zoo. 2b has three main products: a Web-based ticketing service, a third-party ticketing service, and software for reservations, scheduling and admissions. 2b currently earns revenue on more than 2 million fee-generating tickets. The company's clients sell more 90 million tickets annually. 2b Technology was profitable in 1999.

In a related announcement, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch said it is rolling out a suite of new online products focused on local and community-level tickets. The company known for its access to online ticketing for major venues, will now sell tickets for music, sports and cultural events at smaller venues.