Internet concern NBC Internet (NBCI) and home-shopping company ValueVision (VVTV) Thursday set a $20 million programming and marketing agreement under which the companies will take minority stakes in closely held consumer electronics retailer Roxy.com.
Specific financial terms weren't disclosed.
Wall Street yawned at the deal, which is seen as more a coup for Roxy.com than for either NBCi or ValueVision. NBCi was down 1 13/16, or 2%, to 75 11/16 in early morning trading; ValueVision was down 2, or 4%, to 47 1/4.
Federated Department Stores
, which owns a stake in Roxy.com, was off 5/8, or .86%, to 72 3/8. (NBCi ended down 1 7/8, or 2%, to 75 5/8, while ValueVision finished down 2 5/8, or 5%, to 46 5/8. Federated Department Stores settled down 7/16, or .88%, to 49 7/16.)
Under the agreement, ValueVision and NBCi will showcase Roxy.com on the
home-shopping television and Web service as well as on NBCi's Web properties and in select NBCi TV and radio ads. Snap.com is NBC's Internet portal -- ValueVision's home-shopping network and its companion e-commerce site are both being rebranded SnapTV and SnapTV.com.
"This is just one more step toward solidifying their SnapTV programming effort," said Robert Evans, an analyst with Minneapolis-based
Craig-Hallum Capital Group
. In December, NBCi and ValueVision announced they would invest $70.5 million in closely held
, a company that sells self-installed, high-speed DSL Internet service.
For Roxy.com, the partnership with NBCi and ValueVision gives the company valuable exposure, Evans said. "It gets Roxy.com into 32 million homes right now, and 40 million to 50 million homes down the road" as SnapTV expands, he said. The company, which began operating in April 1996, plans to go public sometime in the first half of the year, depending on the market, said Doug Curran, public relations director at Roxy.com. That schedule fits snugly into ValueVision's approach, Evans said. "ValueVision's strategy has been to invest in companies one step before they go public."
Evan rates ValueVision a buy and doesn't rate NBCi; his firm hasn't done any underwriting for either company.
NBC cobbled together each of its Web properties and launched NBCi in November; ValueVision is 39.9% owned by
. Those companies are units of
ValueVision and Roxy.com will co-produce a one-hour, weekly consumer electronics show that will air on ValueVision. Roxy.com will also have exclusive electronics marketing rights on ValueVision and its Web site.