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Ticketmaster expands local ticketing push

The local-guide network says it has acquired TicketWeb in a move that allows it to expand into event ticketing for small venues.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch today said it has acquired TicketWeb in a move that allows the local-guide network to expand into event ticketing for small venues.

The all-stock deal is valued at $35.2 million. Berkeley, Calif.-based TicketWeb will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch and will retain its brand, business model and staff.

TicketWeb is an online ticketing veteran that has operated since 1995. The company has created software that allows venues such as concert halls, clubs and museums to sell tickets online to events. TicketWeb has signed 700 venues, including the San Francisco Symphony, New York's Museum of Modern Art and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

For Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, which is majority-owned by Barry Diller's USA Networks, the move is its latest attempt to expand its online ticketing beyond large-audience events. The company in February acquired 2b Technology, which specializes in ticketing for museums and historic sites.

Company executives said that the TicketWeb acquisition was facilitated by the valuation slump in consumer e-commerce companies in recent months.

"This is a highly strategic acquisition, and the purchase price reflects the compression in valuations which have occurred in the private and public Internet sector over the last few months," Dan Marriott, executive vice president of strategy and development at Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, said in a statement.

TicketWeb's services will eventually be integrated into CitySearch's network of local guides.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch last summer acquired Microsoft's local guide, Sidewalk, in a move to expand its geographic coverage. Microsoft has a 9 percent stake in the company.