NBC Universal in $600 Mil. Deal for iVillage

NEW YORK NBC Universal said it would pay about $600 million to acquire iVillage, the women-focused Web site and one of the last large stand-alone Internet media properties.

Under terms of the deal, NBC Universal would pay $8.50 in cash for all of iVillage’s shares, a 6 percent premium to iVillage’s $7.98 closing price Friday. New York-based iVillage’s management team, including CEO Doug McCormick, will report to Beth Comstock, president for digital media at NBC Universal.

With the addition of 10-year-old iVillage, NBC Universal will greatly increase its Internet presence. The company now expects its digital media revenue will reach $200 million in 2006. In 2005, iVillage had $91 million in revenue and a $9.5 million in net income.

NBC Universal owned a stake in iVillage from a 1998 investment.

Traditional media companies have been bulking up on their Web assets due to the resurgence of Internet advertising and the increasing digitalization of media. In the past year, traditional media giants have bought popular stand-alone properties like About.com, MarketWatch, MySpace, IGN and others.

“We’re engaged in a companywide effort to maximize our position on the Web,” said Bob Wright, CEO of NBC Universal. “IVillage is a real centerpiece for that.”

NBC Universal said it would look to air some of its TV content on iVillage, which last year redesigned its site to emphasize its broadband video programming.