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FindWhat.com buys Espotting for $163m

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US pay-per-click outfit - FindWhat.com - has coughed up $163m (£97m) to buy UK-based performance-based marketing outfit Espotting Media.

The deal - made of 8.1 million in shares, $27m in cash and some other odds and sods - has been approved by both boards and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Both sides claim the deal is good news since it will give the newly merged operation access to both the US and European markets helping to create a "significant international group in the paid listings sector".

Once completed, the combined group will provide services to around 40,000 advertisers and is expected to generate combined revenues of more than $140 million in 2003.

Looking ahead, the number crunchers reckon the merged business could achieve a growth in revenue of between 30-40 per cent in 2004.

In a statement Craig Pisaris-Henderson, chairman and CEO of FindWhat.com, said: "We believe this announcement changes the landscape of the paid listings industry, creating a new international leader.

"The proposed merger intends to capitalise on both companies' experience in serving advertisers and distribution partners of all sizes, across the widest geographic footprint in our sector," he said.

Despite all the big plans, it's not known what the new name of the company might be.

Espotting was formed in February 2000 and has operations in a number of European countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. FindWhat.com was created in March 1998 and became a publicly-traded company in June 1999. ®

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