Go2Net Shells Out $90 Million to Acquire Authorize.Net

Flush with cash — lots of cash — Go2Net, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNET) announced Thursday that it acquired e-commerce payment authorization service, Authorize.Net for $90.5 million (US$).

The Seattle, Washington-based network of technology and community-driven Web sites said the deal was a critical component in its development of end-to-end commerce solutions for its HyperMart and Virtual Avenue business hosting services.

“Authorize.Net brings Go2Net a profitable business, a proven base of commerce-enabling technologies and a track record of several thousand satisfied business customers, all of which bodes very well towards our establishment of comprehensive commerce solutions for HyperMart and Virtual Avenue business members,” said Go2Net’s CEO, Russell Horowitz.

Authorize.Net provides processing systems for credit card and electronic check transactions. Go2Net said the company provides its services to more than 34,000 online merchants and it’s growing at the rate of 3,000 per month. It is the world’s leading e-commerce transaction processor, Go2Net claims.

On An Acquisition Binge?

The agreement calls for $77 million in Go2Net stock and $13.5 million in cash. Go2Net’s stock has been a valuable commodity of late. Billionaire Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, recently bought over $425 million of Go2Net stock with his investment firm, Vulcan Ventures.

Armed with that sizeable chunk of change, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Go2Net go on an acquisition binge, much like a glutton after winning the lottery.

Ranked as the 15th most-trafficked Web property by Media Metrix in May, Go2Net’s network consists of financial site, Silicon Investor, StockSite, Go2Net Personal, an Internet start page, Haggle Online, a person-to-person auction site, search engine MetaCrawler, business Web hosting service, HyperMart, game site PlaySite, and 100hot, the Internet index ranking site.

In a statement earlier this month confirming that Allen’s stock purchase had been approved by shareholders, Horowitz said the company would look to “accelerate acquisitions and growth.” Go2Net’s previous acquisition was when it bought financial analysis and real time charting service site, IQC.com, for $20 million in stock in May.

It’s only other acquisition in the past year was of Silicon Investor last June, when it paid $35 million in stock. A betting person would say that the odds are good that Go2Net will speed up the acquisition timetable now that it has more money than the GDP of many nations.

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