March 9, 2001 5:40 AM PST

Ticketmaster to acquire Evite.com

Online ticketing service Ticketmaster on Friday said it has agreed to acquire struggling party-invitation Web site Evite.com for an undisclosed amount.

With the acquisition, Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster, formerly Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, said it plans to use Evite to improve its online service, which already provides visitors with information about events and sells tickets online.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Evite's services will eventually be fully integrated with the Ticketmaster Web site, the companies said.

As part of the agreement, Evite's online operations will be relocated to the CitySearch office in Pasadena, Calif.

The party-invitation site, which has been troubled recently by site outages and layoffs as the financial markets soured, has been seeking a buyer since last fall. The company hired investment bank J.P. Morgan H&Q (formerly Chase H&Q) to assist its efforts but still said it had enough cash and was not in any immediate danger of shutting down--unlike many of its failed dot-com counterparts.

Last November, Evite slashed its staff by about 60 percent as part of its plan to be acquired and to cut back administrative costs.

Although Evite and most other online party-planning sites have gained popularity among consumers, many in the industry have been struggling to turn profits. Rival Mambo.com shut down, leaving the short-lived niche only one year after opening its doors. TimeDance.com, another start-up in the event-planning world, also folded.

Most companies provide party-planning services at no cost and rely on advertising sales to make money, which in recent months--especially with the downturn in online advertising spending--has proved to be a difficult business model to sustain.

In addition to its invitation service, San Francisco-based Evite also offers a reminder service, polling, payments collection, restaurant and concert listings, and shopping.

 

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