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Ticketmaster Online goes a-courtin'

The purchase of the One & Only Network dating service will cost Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch about $40 million in stock.

In a move aimed at expanding its local presence, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch today said it is acquiring online dating service One & Only Network for about $40 million in stock.

In addition to One & Only's online personal ads, Ticketmaster Online will take control of the company's Utrade auction services, its database, and its affiliate program. The move comes three weeks after Ticketmaster Online said it would acquire online matchmaker

Ticketmaster Online chief executive Charles Conn said and One & Only will give the company about 3 million registered personals users and more than 400,000 active users combined. Conn said the combined dating service helps Ticketmaster Online expand its CitySearch local guides from online ticketing into other areas.

"It's part of our mission to be everything local," Conn said.

He said Ticketmaster Online plans to combine into Utrade with CityAuction, which Ticketmaster Online acquired in January.

Jill Frankle, an e-commerce analyst at International Data Corporation, said Ticketmaster Online seemed to be moving faster than its competition to aggregate local content on its site. She added that there is likely to be more consolidation in the local content market as other sites "ramp up different types of services."

"They are trying to extend their reach and what they are offering," Frankle said.

But Ticketmaster Online's moves in personals, auctions, and other areas will perhaps have a bigger effect on newspapers than the company's online competitors. Frankle said she expects newspapers' share of local advertising money--a primary source of their revenue--to grow smaller as more money is moved online.

"It's going to be a long time before the physical use of the newspaper goes away," she said. "But they are going to have to reinvent themselves and work for other types of relationships where they can provide value."