TargitMail Finds Buyer in E-Tailer

E-mail marketer TargitMail will become a subsidiary of GourmetMarket.com, an e-commerce site for luxury food and items.

The parties declined to disclose financial terms of GourmetMarket.com’s purchase of Global Technology Marketing International, Inc. which had been doing business as Portsmouth, N.H.-based TargitMail.

The acquisition of an email marketing company — which handles list brokering and delivery — at first seems to make little sense for Boca Raton, Fla.-based GourmetMarket. But the firm said it aims to morph into an interactive services holding company.

GourmetMarket.com, which is owned by holding company iiGroup, also said it’s considering a name change “to better reflect its new focus on interactive marketing,” as a result of the deal.

“The acquisition of TargitMail represents the first successful implementation of our company’s new focus on acquisition of interactive marketing companies,” said GourmetMarket.com chairman and chief executive Noel Guillama. “TargitMail is an exceptional example of an interactive marketing company that is using the Internet to create real value for its customers, for consumers, and for itself. ”

Part of GourmetMarket.com’s bid to become a player in interactive marketing undoubtedly will come from TargitMail’s 27 million permission email addresses. GourmetMarket also has control of TargitMail’s technology, which enables marketers to create and deliver personalized emails to opt-in recipients.

While GourmetMarket says its purchasing a leader in the space — TargitMail’s sales increased from approximately $2 million in 1999 to over $6 million in 2000, it said — the entire industry has been buffeted by slipping revenues and weakening in demand.

However, Guillama said he believed the email marketing industry has “recently achieved critical mass … as the critical advertising application for the future.”

“We know that TargitMail is well positioned to capitalize on this explosive growth,” he added.

The purchase wraps up an on-again, off-again relationship with iiGroup, which in December said it was going to buy the email marketer. But in March, iiGroup allowed its letter of intent to expire, citing its inability to the $3 million needed to make the purchase.

iiGroup did not return requests for comment.

Earlier this year, partially ad-supported ISP Juno filed a $3.3 million lawsuit against TargitMail, alleging the email firm didn’t pay a fee for Juno’s letting it market to its subscribers. That suit has yet to come to court.

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