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DoubleClick buys direct emailer for $191 million

The online advertising company says it will acquire NetCreations, an opt-in email marketing service, for $191 million in stock.

Online advertising company DoubleClick today said it will acquire NetCreations, an opt-in email marketing service, for $191 million in stock.

The deal adds to DoubleClick's existing email marketing resources. The company now will be able to help Web marketers reach consumers by tapping NetCreations' database of 15 million email addresses, on top of its own 7 million addresses. DoubleClick handles online advertisements for companies and sells anonymous information about people's surfing habits to help advertisers better target their messages.

NetCreations manages direct-marketing email lists for Web sites. Through NetCreations, companies offer their online visitors ways to receive discounts, information about deals or other content such as news headlines. The direct emailer has more than 350 third-party partners, including CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.

The acquisition is another indicator of consolidation among online marketing companies, according to executives from both DoubleClick and NetCreations. The companies had been talking about a tie-in for quite some time, and the recent market downturn sped the process for signing a deal, the executives said.

"I think partly because of what's been happening in the market, we believe that it makes sense to align ourselves with a stronger partner," Rosalind Resnick, chief executive of NetCreations, said during a conference call this morning.

Many Internet companies, including DoubleClick, are former Wall Street highfliers whose valuations have plunged since the spring, with stock prices hovering near 52-week lows. Also, investors are increasingly worried about the viability of online advertising.

Under the terms of the agreement, DoubleClick will offer 0.41 shares of its stock for each share of NetCreations stock. Based on yesterday's closing price, DoubleClick would be paying $12.15 per share for NetCreations, or a 17 percent premium, the company said.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.