iVillage Acquires Business Women’s Network

Weeks after closing its acquisition of rival network Women.com, iVillage Inc. has purchased Business Women’s Network (BWN), an online women’s media company.

iVillage made the acquisition by purchasing control of Public Affairs Group, Inc., of Washington, D.C., the parent company of BWN.

The Web portal and women-focused new media company did not say in its press release how it financed the purchase of BWN or the cost; however, it recently received an additional $20 million in cash from Hearst Communications and other Women.com stockholders as part of its merger agreement with Women.com.

The acquisition of BWN, which iVillage said was profitable, could help iVillage one day join the profitable club itself. In the short term, the BWN acquisition is expected to build iVillages’s subscription-based businesses and open up more properties to sell to advertisers.

The New York-based iVillage made the announcement as it released second quarter earnings that showed an estimated (pro forma) net loss of $26.3 million, or 48 cents per share, on revenues of $15.2 million for the period ending June 30.

The net loss was smaller than the estimated (pro forma) net loss of $39.3 million (72 cents per share) during the same, year-ago period when it took in $31.7 million.

But company officials said the results were affected by the drought in advertising dollars that has hit any and every media company this year as well as amortization costs associated with the acquisition of Women.com.

BWN is popular for helping women get going in business or navigate small or entrepreneurial hurdles and is best-known for its networking and database of sites and businesses. The popular BWN Directory, a publication with 6,000 listings of women’s professional organizations, can now be purchased and accessed online.

Doug McCormick, chairman and CEO of iVillage, called the acquisition of the privately-held BWN part of its strategy to build out more subscription-based businesses, and a move which opens up an opportunity for the company to access more than 250 of the Fortune 500 companies of BWN’s high-end customer base.

Shares of iVillage closed at 95 cents at the close of trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday before the announcement was released.

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