Set to be folded into the NBCi Internet merger shortly, direct e-commerce company Xoom.com (Nasdaq: XMCM) ventured out from under the umbrella Tuesday to acquire online comparison shopping guide, LiquidMarket, Inc. for $45 million in stock.
The acquisition of the shopping guide and purchasing service will assist Xoom in collecting data about online buyers, which they intend to then target with products and services based on their needs, the company said.
The new service will be available to Xoom and Snap.com members later this fall. It will cover three product categories — office supplies, consumer electronics and computers — and will eventually offer guides to books, music, sporting goods, toys and many more products.
Snap.com, one of the Web’s fastest growing portals, is also scheduled to be integrated into the NBCi merger along with Xoom.com and will be retained as the consumer brand.
“LiquidMarket provides an end-to-end commerce solution for consumers who not only want to find the best deal on the Web, but who also want to centralize their online shopping needs by being able to choose products from many vendors while making their purchases from one location,” said Xoom Chairman, Chris Kitze. “This acquisition will allow us to attract more online buyers that will benefit from all the great free services Xoom.com offers to its members.”
The companies said that LiquidMarket’s proprietary technology enables shoppers to quickly and easily search for products from major online retailers and compare prices. Unlike other comparison shopping services, they said, LiquidMarket reports product information on all relevant merchants, not just those that pay the company a commission.
Merger Offers New Opportunities
Xoom finds itself in the enviable position of having a corporate backer to allow it to seek out deals like this one. Its pending merger will free it of financial restraints and allow it to make the acquisitions necessary to compete.
A direct-target e-commerce site that offers its 9.2 million members free homepage building, chat rooms, message boards, HTML e-mail and more, Xoom was one of the first to target its members with products and services tailored to their interests.
In June, NBC bought $25 million of the company’s shares and accelerated its $30 million cash investment as well. Xoom recently reported second quarter revenues of $6.5 million and a net loss of $2.7 million.
The pending merger gives NBC a 49 percent stake in NBCi, Xoom 33 percent and CNET gets a 13 percent share. Kitze, recently featured on the cover of Internet World as an e-commerce pioneer, will become CEO of the new entity.