USA Networks, Inc. announced today that it is beefing up its e-commerce presence by merging its Internet Shopping Network (ISN) with fashion e-tailer Styleclick.com, Inc. in a deal worth an estimated $500 million (US$).
The merged company will be 75 percent owned by USA Networks and will draw management from both Styleclick.com and ISN. Maurizio Vecchione, president and co-chief executive officer of Styleclick.com, will become CEO, and ISN chief operating officer Bill Lane will become president and vice chairman.
Bolstered Against Competition
The new company will operate Styleclick.com’s fashion-oriented Web site, as well as USA Networks’ Internet Shopping Network. ISN includes the online auction Web site FirstAuction.com and online jewelry store FirstJewelry.com. The new company will also continue to develop design software for the fashion industry.
The deal is the second e-commerce-related deal made by USA Networks in two weeks. The New York-based network recently bought Miami, Florida-based customer-service company Precision Response Corp. for $650 million.
The cash infusion will help bolster Styleclick.com against such rivals as Fashionmall.com and bluefly.com. In addition, Styeclick.com will get a $10 million bridge loan from USA Networks.
About the Companies
USA Networks (Nasdaq: USAI) entertains viewers on cable TV with the USA Network, the Sci-Fi Channel and the Home Shopping Network. The company also produces TV shows and made-for-TV movies through its Studios USA division, and owns 13 local television stations through USA Broadcasting.
Additionally, USA Networks owns Ticketmaster, the largest ticket retailer in the U.S., and a percent of its Internet sister company, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch.
Styleclick.com (Nasdaq: IBUY) operates its fashion-oriented online Web store and also develops design software for the apparel, textile, and home furnishings industries.
The ModaDESIGN PRO software suite is the flagship of the company’s CAD (computer-aided design) products. The company has designs on the e-commerce arena with its virtual-sample software. Uses include interactive kiosks where customers see furniture — with custom fabric and finish options — on-screen and in 3-D.
Styleclick.com and Intel are partnering to bring similar technology to the fashion industry. Broderbund has licensed the company’s consumer software for do-it-yourself decorators.
Founder and chairman Joyce Freedman and her husband own about 26 percent of the company, which has been public since March 1996.