NBC Universal to Buy iVillage for $600 Mln

NBC Universal has struck a deal to purchase iVillage, Inc., which operates a network of Web sites aimed at women, for $600 million. The acquisition is clearly intended to increase NBC’s Internet profile as mainstream media companies move to translate their presence in traditional media to the online world.

We are committed to delivering content to consumers through distribution systems both traditional and new,” said Bob Wright, Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of General Electric, NBC’s parent company. “Acquiring iVillage will enable us to bring our programming to a large and passionate online community. We look forward to building on the considerable brand strength iVillage has developed over the past 10 years and to giving our advertising clients new and exciting ways to reach a valuable demographic.”

NBC is certainly hoping to make money on the deal: excluding acquisitions, iVillage’s revenues were up 30 percent in 2005, and NBC projects a 20 percent annual growth rate in coming years, with revenue targets reaching $200 million in 2006 alone. NBC also expects it will be able to reduce digital operations costs by utilizing existing capabilities at iVillage. iVillage claimed more than 14 million unique visitors in January, 2006.

“This is all about creating important new intersections between community, content and commerce,” said Beth Comstock, President, NBC Universal Digital Media and Market Development. “We envision connecting more deeply online, on mobile and on demand with key consumers throughout their various life stages