Network Solutions Signs Agreement to Acquire ImageCafe.com, Will Offer Professionally Designed Web Sites for Small Businesses
HERNDON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 11, 1999–
Network Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSOL), announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire ImageCafe.com, ( http://www.imagecafe.com ), a privately held Internet company that offers professionally designed, ready-to-deploy Web sites at a do-it-yourself price.
The acquisition of the Columbia, Maryland-based company will allow small businesses to select, customize, and launch a top-quality Web site at the time they register their Web address with Network Solutions. Significantly, Network Solutions will refer all of the Web hosting business generated by the sale of these Web sites to its partners worldwide, thus becoming a potentially significant revenue source for its partners.
“Domain names are the building permits of the Internet,” said Jim Rutt, CEO, Network Solutions. “We sell millions of them. Now our acquisition of ImageCafe will allow us to sell the buildings too increasing our revenue opportunity while deepening our relationships with the many Internet Service Providers and Web hosting companies in our partner programs.”
“Small businesses resist getting into e-business because it tends to be expensive,” said Doug Wolford, senior vice president and general manager of Registrar and Value Added Services for Network Solutions. “With ImageCafe, you can look like the Fortune 500 for under $500. Your new site looks good, reflects positively on your business, and basically solves the nagging problem that keeps small business owners awake at night ‘I know I should be on the Web but I don’t know where to begin. Now the first step is obvious.”
ImageCafe was launched in April 1999 as the Internet’s first “superstore” offering professionally designed Web sites that users can easily select, customize, and launch on their own. ImageCafe offers about 40 different Web sites, each customizable with over 150 industry specific image motifs. An online Web site manager tool gives Web site owners the ability to dynamically update their sites after their purchase.
Once the customer selects and puts the finishing touches on its new site, a click of a mouse sends it to selected Network Solutions’ business partners. Currently, MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSPG) offers Web hosting for ImageCafe’s services. Network Solutions will continue to work with MindSpring and has forged agreements with its other Alliance channels as well. The companies providing Web hosting for the ImageCafe offering will include Interliant, Inc. (NASDAQ: INIT), ValueWeb (NASDAQ: ESPI) and Interland, Inc.
The demand by small business for Web addresses has been staggering and now those businesses are ready to build Web sites. According to The Yankee Group there are six million business Web sites currently, and the number of Web sites is expected to reach nearly nine million by 2003. The difficulty faced by most individuals, however, is that if you build a Web site on your own, it typically looks like you did. The other choice is to spend a lot of money having someone else create and maintain it. Neither choice has been terribly attractive to the image-conscious and budget-minded small business. By contrast, the starting price of an ImageCafe Web site is only $299, compared to typical costs for fully customized Web sites of $1,200 per page with prices ranging from $3,000-$15,000 for a basic small business Web site. Domain name registration, Web hosting and Web site manager tool fees are optional.
Clarence Wooten, Jr., CEO of ImageCafe, joins Network Solutions as vice president of the ImageCafe Division.
“The idea behind ImageCafe is simple yet unique,” said Wooten. “Small businesses want professionally designed Web sites at do-it-yourself prices. We filled a void in the market for this kind of service with our sophisticated Web sites that are easy enough for the novice Web surfer to deploy.”
ImageCafe offers a scalable, yet flexible solution for delivering artistically superior, semi-custom Web sites. This solution is easy for novices, yet robust from an artistic perspective to attract image conscious companies. All of the HTML coding and graphic design is pre-created by professional Web site designers. The ImageCafe solution also achieves economies of scale by transforming the purchase of sophisticated, professionally designed Web sites from labor-intensive custom endeavors into pre-produced catalog items.
The Boards of Directors of both companies and the stockholders of ImageCafe have approved the acquisition and the companies plan to complete the transaction within approximately 10 days subject to customary closing conditions.
About Network Solutions
Founded in 1979, Network Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSOL) pioneered the development of registering Web addresses ending in .com, .net, .org and .edu. Network Solutions also provides Internet Technology Services that assist large commercial organizations in the evolution and management of their Internet technologies. For more information, see the http://www.networksolutions.com Web site.
Network Solutions is the world’s leading registrar, with more than 6.5 million net registrations. Network Solutions registers the majority of Web addresses worldwide through various channels including nearly 220 companies in over 30 countries in its Premier program and over 30,000 companies in the Affiliate Program. Network Solutions has created value-added small business solutions through agreements with leading companies such as American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Through its Alliance Program, Network Solutions works closely with EarthLink (NASDAQ: ELNK), MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSPG), Interliant, Inc. (NASDAQ: INIT), ValueWeb (NASDAQ: ESPI) and Interland, Inc. Network Solutions also has entered into marketing agreements with companies like Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO).
For Network Solutions, Media: Cheryl Regan, email@example.com, (703) 742-4847. Investor Relations: Sean McClorey, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 326-6090.
Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, inability to integrate any acquired businesses and retaining personnel from such acquisitions, the success of any acquired business, uncertainty of Internet governance and regulation, increased competition in the domain name registration business, customer acceptance of new products and services offered by the company in addition to or as enhancements of its registration services, risks associated with the company’s international business, uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and fluctuations in its quarterly operating results. More information about potential factors that could affect the company’s business and financial results is included in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially in the company’s Registration Statement on Form S-3 filed on January 4, 1999, as amended, Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998 and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 1999 and June 30, 1999.
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