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NetBenefit has bought rival British domain name and webhosting outfit Easily Ltd for £2.5m in cash and shares. It says the acquisition will help it reduce costs by £300,000 in the first financial year.

Established in 1999 and based in London, Easily has some 100,000 customers, drawn mostly from consumers and small and medium-sized businesses. In 2003 it generated £2.5m in revenues and made a pre-tax profit of £84,000.

Geoff Wicks, NetBenefit chief exec, said the acquisition was earnings enhancing and "provides an excellent platform for continued expansion of our domain name and hosting services."

He said the company is experiencing strong demand for its services and he anticipates the "outcome for the current financial year will be ahead of market expectations". ®

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