Go2Net Swallows Auction Site Haggle Online

Go2Net (Nasdaq: GNET) seems determined to become the next big portal site, and the company strengthened its e-commerce presence on Monday by announcing the acquisition of auction site Haggle Online.

Go2Net will pay $6.5 million (US$) in stock for Haggle Online. Go2Net is taking advantage of its stock’s stunning run up in recent months. Shares of Go2Net are more than 2500 percent higher than their 52-week low.

The purchase of Haggle Online, which focuses primarily on computer hardware and software, gives Go2Net a platform to derive more revenue from Hypermart, its free business hosting service. The company indicates that Hyperart has nearly 200,000 members and is growing at a rate of more than 20,000 small businesses per month. Although the hosting service is free, Go2Net generates revenue through it with banner advertising and affiliate programs.

Other sites operated by Go2Net include the Metacrawler search engine, shopping comparison service WebMarket and financial destination site Silicon Investor.

Exclusive Auctions for Businesses

In addition to running auctions for individuals, Haggle Online also runs auctions specifically for businesses.

“Haggle Online will be immediately available to individual users of the Go2Net Network, and we will further enhance its features to bring auction services directly to HyperMart’s rapidly-growing community of more than 185,000 small- and medium-sized businesses,” said Russell C. Horowitz, CEO of Go2Net.

Big Two Months for Go2Net

Go2Net became a much bigger portal player on March 15, when Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced a deal worth about $750 million that would give him a majority stake of the company.

The company has also recently signed e-commerce deals with 911gifts.com and Gourmet’s Choice Coffee that have helped boost its stock price.

Shares of Go2Net stock were down 7 to 167 in early trading today, but this simply looks like profit-taking. Go2Net is still one of the top-performing stocks of the first quarter. Allen and his investment organization Vulcan Ventures have already gotten a rather nice return on their investment. Part of their deal with Go2Net included a tender offer to purchase up to 3.6 million shares of stock at $90.

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