United Online acquires FTD Group

United Online (NASDAQ: UNTD) is going to buy Florists Transworld Delivery or FTD to build up a conglomerate of Internet-service provider and a huge network of florists and floral-products supplier.

The deal is worth of $456 million in cash, stock and notes.

United Online is a Woodland Hills, California, company formed by the 2001 merger of NetZero and Juno Online Services. The company owns 50megs.com, BlueLight Internet Services and Classmates Online, Inc., the operator of Classmates.com, StayFriends.de and StayFriends.se. The company previously owned both Simpli and RocketCash.

FTD is a company based in Downers Grove, Illinois, in the United States. It operates two main businesses: The Consumer Business sells flowers and gift items through its websites and The Floral Business sells computer services, software and even fresh cut flowers to FTD affiliated florists. FTD was founded as a retailers' cooperative to help customers send flowers remotely on the same day by using florists in the FTD network who are near the intended recipient.

The deal values FTD at $15.08 a share, a 12% premium to FTD's closing price Tuesday. FTD stockholders will get 15% of United Online. United Online plans to halve its dividend payment to 10 cents a share after the deal is closed.

Photo: www.untd.com