iMall Snapped Up By Excite@Home For $425 Million

Media company Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) put an end to e-commerce solutions provider iMall (Nasdaq: IMAL) stockholder’s lament about Wall Street’s lack of attention when it announced Tuesday that it would issue $425 million (US$) in stock to acquire the company.

Excite@Home also announced an agreement with e-commerce transaction processor, First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) to enable merchants to complete credit card transactions. First Data is an 11 percent shareholder of iMall.

The deals will give Excite@Home a huge boost in adding merchants to its current shopping network in efforts to attract consumers, and will also build up the company’s business-to-business e-commerce solutions.

iMall is one of e-commerce’s pioneers. Founded in 1994, the company operates shopping portals at its main site and at and has been active in offering e-commerce packages for businesses.

Broadening Its Base

Excite@Home and First Data will team up to offer what they say will be one of the easiest and fastest e-commerce solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. The company’s president says it addresses a developing trend in the industry.

“Through our acquisition of iMall and our new relationship with First Data, we have in a single step become a leader in offering the most complete end-to-end e-commerce solutions to merchants who want to become online retailers,” said Excite@Home President, George Bell. “The combined solution gives us critical mass to bring together online buyers and sellers with new services for our business-to-business efforts.”

iMall’s CEO, Richard Rosenblatt, touted the company’s ability to enable merchants to set up shop on the Internet in less than a day. Like the advent of one-hour photo shops, America’s insatiable need to do it fast and first is driving the e-commerce solutions business.

iMall lost $13.1 million last year and has yet to turn a profit. Excite@Home surely intends to turn that around. With 22 million unique visitors a month across its network, the company has been expanding its base, offering content and services across both narrowband and broadband systems.

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