Vocus buys PRWeb

LANHAM, MD: PR software provider Vocus has acquired PRWeb, a private company specializing in online visibility and search engine-optimized (SEO) press release distribution.

LANHAM, MD: PR software provider Vocus has acquired PRWeb, a private company specializing in online visibility and search engine-optimized (SEO) press release distribution.

The deal is valued at $28 million, consisting of $20.8 million cash and 494,543 shares of Vocus common stock.

Rick Rudman, president and CEO of Vocus, noted that the acquisition was fueled, in part, by recent client requests for getting their news onto the Internet to gain visibility.

"As we looked around, it was obvious to us that PRWeb was the market leader in search engine-optimized press releases," he said.

Another factor was PRWeb's experience with the "social media" press release, which is created to target blogs and podcasts by providing many links and tags for Technorati.

"We see and believe in the trend of the direct-to-consumer press release," Rudman said. "I don't know if it will ever replace the traditional wire service, but the online press release certainly has a place in the communications world. The fact that PRWeb is a pioneer and an innovator was important to us."

Rudman added that the company's current partnership with PR Newswire would likely be unaffected by the acquisition because Vocus' large, public company clients will still need a traditional newswire in addition to the services that PRWeb offers.

Vocus will incorporate PRWeb's services into its suite of offerings within the next few months, allowing Vocus customers to simultaneously distribute their press releases via PRWeb, their own Vocus-managed media lists, and their Vocus online newsrooms. It will also offer PRWeb distribution as a standalone service.

Vocus, which went public in December 2005, expects 2006 earnings to be in the range of $39.4 million to $39.8 million. Vocus will retain PRWeb founder and president David McInnis, as president and CEO of Vocus' PRWeb division, and all of PRWeb's 31 employees.

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