OAKLAND, Calif., May 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ask.com
(http://www.ask.com), a leading search engine and wholly-owned business of
IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), today announced an agreement to acquire Lexico
Publishing Group LLC - the owner of Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and
Reference.com, in an all-cash transaction. More than half a billion monthly
worldwide searches consist of dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia
queries, according to comScore.
The Lexico acquisition will grow the Ask Network user base to more than
145 million unduplicated monthly unique users (UUs) worldwide, an increase
of 11%, according to March 2008 comScore data. This would rank the Ask
Network as the 9th largest Web property in the world - ahead of Apple Inc.
and Facebook - in monthly worldwide UUs (comScore World Metrix, March
2008). Ask.com and Lexico's demographics are nearly identical, creating
strong potential for cycling traffic between both companies' user bases.
"Lexico is a lean and fast-growing business with rapid top- and bottom-
line growth, and is a natural addition for Ask.com," said Jim Safka, CEO of
Ask.com. "More than 30 percent of all searches conducted on Ask.com are in
the reference category. In fact, 'dictionary' was the second-most searched
term on Ask.com in 2007. At the same time, Lexico's consumers frequently
seek out a search engine immediately before and after using one of Lexico's
sites. This acquisition expands Ask.com's reach and aligns perfectly with
our customers' needs."
Lexico's key strengths include:
-- 15.6 M monthly UUs, growing 29% year-over-year (comScore, March 2008)
-- Lexico sites grew three times faster than the global search market,
which grew 9.5% year-over-year (comScore, March 2008)
-- Profitable, high double-digit growth for the past two years
-- 88% of traffic consists of users who directly type Lexico sites' URLs
into their browsers, demonstrating brand strength and minimal reliance
on intermediary sites
"I can't imagine a better home for Lexico sites than Ask.com, given its
leadership in search technology and product innovation," said Brian
Kariger, CEO and Co-Founder of Lexico. "This integration will give the
Lexico sites a better consumer experience and even more useful for finding
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction remains subject
to customary closing conditions.
Ask.com, a wholly-owned business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), is one of the
leading general search engines on the Internet. The Ask Network of sites
has more than 130 million worldwide unique monthly users according to March
2008 comScore data. Ask.com syndicates its search technology and
advertising solutions to a network of affiliate partners.
Lexico Publishing Group, LLC
Founded in 1995, Lexico Publishing Group, LLC is a leading provider of
free online reference services including Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com and
Reference.com. Lexico was recently named one of America's 500
fastest-growing private companies by Inc. Magazine, and has been called
"the best general English-language dictionary online" by Web Guide
magazine. Lexico Publishing provides Dictionary.com Word of the Day Mailing
List, a daily e-mail vocabulary lesson; Thesaurus.com, the award-winning
online version of Roget's New Millennium(TM) Thesaurus of English Words and
Phrases; Reference.com, an encyclopedia, almanac, and general reference
guide; and CleverKeys(R), free software that gives instant access to
definitions and synonyms from Windows and Macintosh programs.
Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and Reference.com combined to serve more
than 28 million unique visitors as of March 2008. The Word of the Day
Mailing List has more than 1 million subscribers.