IAR Bits and Bytes

Compaq, Audible Renew Deal

Spoken audio e-tailer Audible has renewed its marketing agreement with Houston, Texas-based computer and PDA manufacturer Compaq .

The two-year-old deal has Compaq bundling Wayne, N.J.-based Audible’s software — AudibleManager and AudiblePlayer — with its iPAQ PocketPC-based PDAs in North America. The package will offer free trial subscriptions to products on audible.com, which include the daily audio editons of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Terms were not disclosed.

L90 Delays 10-K Filing

Troubled Los Angeles-based online ad play L90 said it would delay filing its 2001 Form 10-K amid a continuing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company’s accounting practices.

The firm said it had been unable to finalize the financial statements necessary for filing the 10-K with the SEC, and that its independent auditors wouldn’t be able to deliver an audit report on those statements until an internal review of the company’s accounting is finalized.

“The company and the audit committee of its board of directors engaged special counsel and a forensic accounting firm to conduct a thorough, comprehensive and detailed examination of the accounting for the company’s prior revenues,” said L90 General Counsel Peter Huie in a statement. “The internal review is progressing as rapidly as possible. Once the internal review is complete the company will be in a position to file the 2001 10-K.”

L90 said in early February that the SEC had begun an investigation into its finances, but declined to go into specifics. That investigation, during which federal regulators subpoenaed records and at least one member of L90’s board of directors, related in part to two barter advertising transactions with Homestore.com in the second and third quarters of 2001.

In March, L90 Chief Executive John Bohan and Chief Financial Officer Tom Sebastian departed the company, as did co-founder Mark Roah, a member of the company’s board of directors and a one-time sales executive at the firm.

Also in March, Web publisher eUniverse terminated its proposed buyout of L90, citing concerns for its shareholders’ well-being.

Be Free, ValueClick to Vote in May

Shareholders of Web ad network and server ValueClick and affiliate marketing technology provider Be Free will vote next month on ValueClick’s acquisition of the smaller, Marlborough, Mass.-based firm.

Be Free’s shareholders will be asked to vote on the deal May 22. The following day, Westlake Village-based ValueClick’s shareholders will vote.

ValueClick agreed to acquire Be Free in an all-stock deal valued at about $128.5 million. After shareholder approval of the deal, Be Free shareholders will own about 45 percent of the combined company.

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