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Tech-Media Firm Ziff Davis Bought for $167 Million

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cloud-services specialist j2 Global (JCOM) acquired privately held tech-media company Ziff Davis in a deal worth around $167 million.

"This is an exciting new chapter in the storied history of Ziff Davis and will allow us to accelerate our growth," Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah said in an email. Shah, who is also a board member of TheStreet (TST), added that Ziff Davis will operate as a subsidiary of j2.

Thanks to the transaction, j2 gains Ziff Davis Web properties such as PCMag.com, ComputerShopper, ExtremeTech, Toolbox.com and Geek.com. J2 expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive and to contribute about $60 million to 2013 revenue.

The purchase price of $167 million, net of certain post-closing adjustments, was funded out of j2's cash on hand.

Los Angeles-based j2 sells business cloud services such as Internet fax, virtual phone, hosted email and customer relationship management (CRM). The company also offers email marketing through its Campaigner service.

"We have years of experience and significant interest in the digital media and online marketing space, both as a large-scale consumer of advertising (~$50M per year) and as a seller of advertising on our ad supported properties (e.g. eFax Free) and a provider of marketing and advertising services through Campaigner," j2 CEO Hemi Zucker said in a press release. "This acquisition brings scale to this effort with a top leadership team deeply committed to building the business through organic growth, which we expect to continue."

At least one analyst sees the deal as a shrewd move by the business cloud specialist.

"This acquisition represents a nice tangential growth opportunity for j2, as the company looks to expand its marketing and cloud-services segment over the coming years," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said in a note. "We also believe Ziff offers the company additional cross-sell opportunities for j2's core fax product, given its strong marketing presence."

Ives maintained his "market perform" rating on j2.

As a result of the Ziff Davis deal, j2 anticipates that its 2012 revenue will exceed the top end of its previous estimate of between $345 million and $365 million. The company also reaffirmed that, excluding items, its 2012 EPS will exceed that of 2011.

Shares of j2 rose 2.5% to $30.08 in Monday trading.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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