August 28, 2008, 12:00 AM

United Online acquires FTD for $754 million

United Online Inc. has completed its previously announced acquisition of FTD Group Inc. The company paid about $307 million in cash, issued FTD shareholders 12.3 million shares of United Online valued at nearly $15 each and assumed FTD’s debt.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

United Online Inc. has completed its acquisition of FTD Group Inc., a deal that was announced in April.

The deal was approved by both companies on Aug. 26. Under the arrangement, United Online, which owns and operates Internet service providers Juno and NetZero, the Classmates online social network and web-based loyalty point program MyPoints, paid approximately $307 million in cash and issued FTD shareholders 12.3 million shares of United Online stock valued at just under $15 per share. United Online also will assume FTD debt, bringing the total value of the deal up to about $754 million, the company says.

The acquisition was financed in part with the proceeds of a $425 million credit facility, which included a $50 million revolving line of credit with Wells Fargo Bank and other lenders. United Online drew from cash on hand to pay the balance of the cash portion of the deal.

The acquisition of FTD is expected to provide several strategic benefits to United Online, including a significant increase in scale, diversification of the company`s revenue streams and profitability and expanded marketing opportunities and efficiencies, the company says. “FTD`s brands, customer demographics and significant Internet presence are a great fit with our existing consumer brands,” says United Online CEO Mark R. Goldston. “We plan to leverage United Online`s proven marketing expertise in attracting consumers to and the 1-800-SENDFTD order line, and to the thousands of FTD-affiliated florists who are the life-blood of this nearly 100-year old company."

FTD, No. 50 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is the second-leading online florist after Inc., with $260 million in online sales in 2007. United Online will leverage the FTD brand and bring FTD products to United Online`s more than 50 million consumer accounts, says Goldston. “We anticipate that our marketing initiatives for FTD will include cross-selling FTD products to our existing domestic consumer accounts across the Classmates, MyPoints, NetZero and Juno businesses, and utilizing the MyPoints loyalty rewards platform as a mechanism to reward the millions of FTD customers for purchasing products from FTD,” he says.

The combined entity will have annual revenue of just over $1.1 billion and operating income of $169.1 million, says United Online.


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