DealTime(R) Ltd., a leading online shopping search engine, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Epinions(R), a leading online consumer reviews and ratings platform. Completion of the transaction is subject to standard closing conditions, including regulatory and shareholder approvals. Upon completion of these conditions, the deal is expected to close in approximately six weeks.
DealTime will augment its advanced search technology and shopping tools with Epinions' consumer reviews and ratings. Epinions' content will broaden the information available for shoppers and further increase conversion to sale for merchants. DealTime will continue to operate the DealTime.com(R) and Epinions.com(R) websites, as well as its co-branded sites, while leveraging both companies' merchant relationships and distribution partners.
"This acquisition will unite a uniquely valuable content platform with proven shopping search tools and technologies," said Dan Ciporin, Chairman and CEO of DealTime. "Epinions' robust database of consumer reviews and ratings helps millions of shoppers make smarter buying decisions, resulting in the highest quality referrals for merchants."
Upon completion of the acquisition, DealTime expects to fully integrate the Epinions employee team into DealTime's operations, including Nirav Tolia -- co-founder and CEO of Epinions -- who would become Chief Operating Officer of DealTime. Epinions charter investors and board members, Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital and John Johnston of August Capital, would join the board of the newly merged company. DealTime would continue to operate Epinions' office in California while maintaining its current offices in New York and the United Kingdom as well as its research and development facility in Israel.
"We are looking forward to working with the DealTime team to spearhead innovation in the shopping search category," said Nirav Tolia, Epinions co-founder and CEO. "As one company, our mission will be to create the absolute best online shopping experience for our users and merchants."
In the months following completion of the deal, DealTime will integrate Epinions' consumer reviews and ratings across its network. Shoppers will also be able to access DealTime's 2,100 merchant partners on Epinions.com.
"Consumer-written reviews are very helpful in pre-qualifying shoppers," said Safa Rashtchy, Senior Research Analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "Epinions' consumer reviews and ratings combined with DealTime's shopping search technologies should translate into a powerful product for consumers and merchants alike. Generally, these types of pre-qualified buyers are the most attractive leads in the online marketplace."
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is not an offer to sell nor does it seek an offer to buy any securities nor approval of the proposed DealTime transaction.
DealTime (http://www.dealtime.com), a leading online shopping search engine, reaches millions of shoppers worldwide every month. DealTime.com was the third most visited shopping site throughout the holiday shopping season in 2002, according to comScore Media Metrix, and was named co-winner of the prestigious Search Engine Watch Award for 'Best Shopping Search Engine' in January, 2003.
Through its Web sites, www.dealtime.com, www.shopping.com, www.dealtime.co.uk, and network sites in partnership with AltaVista, Lycos, Excite Network and others, shoppers can compare products, prices and stores across the Web. DealTime provides merchants and manufacturers with pre-qualified, in-market buyers and lower customer-acquisition costs. DealTime gives traffic aggregators and portals superior shopping tools to enable them to effectively monetize their traffic. DealTime supplies consumers with detailed product information, reviews and the easiest way to find the right product at the best price.
DealTime Ltd. is a multi-national private company, venture-backed by key strategic and financial partners including Bertelsmann, Bain Capital, AOL TimeWarner, Bank of America, Singapore Telecom, Israel Seed Partners and others.
DealTime, DealTime.com, and the DealTime logo are registered trademarks of DealTime Ltd.
Epinions (http://www.epinions.com), a leading consumer review platform, currently serves more than 12 million visitors each month. Through its unique combination of consumer reviews, ratings, and price information, Epinions offers shoppers the information they need to decide what products to buy, where to buy them and how much to pay. For merchants and partners, Epinions delivers smart shoppers who are ready to buy, making Epinions one of the best online sources for highly qualified leads.
Epinions has received numerous accolades including: Yahoo! Internet Life's Top 5 Most Useful Shopping Sites, Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites, PC Magazine's Top 100 Sites, and the People's Voice Webby Award for Best Service.
Founded in May 1999, Epinions has received financing from Benchmark Capital, August Capital, Goldman Sachs, BV Capital, Dell Computer Corp., and Bowman Capital. The privately held company is headquartered in Brisbane, Calif.
Epinions, Epinions.com, and the Epinions logo are registered trademarks of Epinions, Inc.