Thursday April 29, 8:32 am Eastern Time
SOURCE: MarketWatch.com, Inc.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- MarketWatch.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTW - news) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BigCharts Inc., one of the top-ten trafficked financial sites and an industry-leading provider of objective, data-driven online financial content for self-directed investors. The transaction is valued at approximately $160 million in stock and $6 million in cash.
The acquisition will enable MarketWatch.com to increase the number and quality of financial tools it provides investors, enhancing its position as a leading, branded web site for comprehensive, real-time business news and financial programming.
BigCharts will be able to integrate MarketWatch.com's proprietary real-time news and commentary into the BigCharts suite of products that it markets to its customers, including many of the major online brokers and financial services companies it serves. BigCharts provides content to 7 of the top 10 online brokers, and through those partnerships and others, its content is available to approximately 80% of all online investors.
``We believe that BigCharts is one of the best in the business at producing useful, attractive and efficient tools for investors,'' said MarketWatch.com President and CEO Larry Kramer. ``They add value to information through packaging and interactive tools. MarketWatch.com, on the other hand, produces the fastest and best financial news on the Internet. Both of us are at the top of the game, and we believe that each of us can contribute exactly what the other needs to be even better. By combining these businesses we have the opportunity to create a dominant company by substantially increasing our audience reach and pursuing multiple revenue streams.''
``BigCharts' objective is to be the leader in providing online financial content to self-directed investors by delivering objective, data-driven content rich in visual design and interactivity,'' said Philip D. Hotchkiss, President and CEO, BigCharts Inc. ``As a company, we have been very successful in meeting our objective. We have built and hold an audience approaching 1 million unique monthly users at http://www.BigCharts.com (according to Media Metrix), established a broad network of content distribution partners and built close relationships with the market leaders in online brokerage, financial publishing and portals. Under the CBS.MarketWatch.com umbrella, we have the opportunity to leverage their distribution and reach to broaden the services we provide to our content licensing clients and to enhance the user experience at BigCharts.com.''
Under the agreement, MarketWatch.com, Inc. will exchange approximately 2,175,000 shares of its common stock (including shares issuable upon exercise of assumed BigCharts options), and pay $6 million in cash in exchange for all outstanding BigCharts Inc.'s securities. The acquisition, which has been approved by both companies' Boards of Directors, is subject to customary conditions including approval by BigCharts' stockholders. The deal is expected to close within 30 to 60 days. MarketWatch.com, Inc. will account for this transaction under the purchase method of accounting. BigCharts Inc. will retain its key management and be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of MarketWatch.com, Inc. In addition to continuing to serve as BigCharts' President and CEO, Philip Hotchkiss will join MarketWatch.com's Board of Directors.
About MarketWatch.com, Inc.
MarketWatch.com, Inc., http://cbs.marketwatch.com (Nasdaq: MKTW - news) is a leading Web-based provider of comprehensive, real-time business news, financial programming and analytic tools. The editorial team contributes financial and economic reports to national CBS radio news feeds, CBS EVENING NEWS WITH DAN RATHER, and CBS News' THIS MORNING. MarketWatch.com was launched in October 1997, as a joint venture between CBS Broadcasting Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS - news), and Data Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.dbc.com, (Nasdaq: DBCC - news), the country's leading provider of real-time financial and market information for the individual investor. CBS and DBC are controlling stockholders of MarketWatch.com. MarketWatch.com is headquartered in San Francisco and has bureaus in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.
About BigCharts Inc.
BigCharts, Inc., based in Minneapolis, is a leading provider of licensed online financial charting content to electronic brokers, financial publishers and portals. Based on Media Metrix data, its Internet site, BigCharts.com, is one of the most popular financial destination sites on the web. It receives critical acclaim for design, ease of use and depth of functionality. In addition, the company designs, produces and markets interactive financial charting products to institutional clients in the online brokerage, online publishing, Internet portal, and online Finance industries.
Forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including and without limitation: (i) risks to the merger, such as, risks that the proposed merger may not be consummated, risks involved in assimilating BigCharts, risks involved in integrating, retaining and motivating key BigCharts personnel, risks related to integrating and managing geographically-dispersed operations, risks related to integrating the technologies and infrastructures of the companies, and risks related to the acceptance by BigCharts' brokerage customers of the merger; (ii) risks inherent in BigCharts' business, such as, its dependence on short-term customer contracts, its dependence on a small number of customers for a significant portion of its revenues, its dependence on maintaining relationships with key customers, and the extremely limited operating history of BigCharts on which to base any revenue projections; (iii) risks to MarketWatch.com of the increased negative cash flow and increased operating expenses arising out of, among other items, the proposed BigCharts merger; (iv) the risk that BigCharts customers and distribution partners will not utilize any additional services of the combined company; (v) risks related to the achievement of new revenue to MarketWatch.com from the BigCharts operations; and (vi) risks relating to MarketWatch.com's ongoing operations as detailed in MarketWatch.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In particular, see the risk factors described in MarketWatch.com's Form S-1 Registration Statement for its initial public offering (SEC File Number 333-65569), and in its Form 10-K/A for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1998. MarketWatch.com does not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.
SOURCE: MarketWatch.com, Inc.