March 27, 2000 2:01 PM PST

About.com buys online marketing firm

About.com said late Monday it will buy Sombasa Media, a privately held online marketing firm, for more than $35 million in stock. Its shares closed up 1/16 to 88 7/16 ahead of the announcement.

About.com (Nasdaq: BOUT) said Sombasa shareholders will receive 400,000 unregistered shares. It will also absorb Sombasa's option plan.

About.com, best known for its portal of human guides, has recently made a push into the business-to-business e-commerce market.

Last quarter, it posted a loss of $8.3 million, or 57 cents a share, on sales of $13 million.

"This acquisition provides us with a leading engine for matching highly granular content and commerce with the highly specific needs of our customers," said CEO Scott Kurnit in a prepared release. "This deal is another great example of the leverage we're unlocking within our platform."

First Call consensus expects About.com to lose 58 cents a share in its first quarter and $1.83 a share in the fiscal year.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 105 13/16 earlier this month after falling to a low of 19 1/2 in August.

All seven analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

 

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