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Alta Vista buys Raging Bull

The Alta Vista company, a leading online media and commerce site, announced Monday Nov. 29 that it acquired Raging Bull, a financial-oriented Web site with stock quotes, news and message boards.

Alta Vista acquired Raging Bull for an undisclosed sum.

Former College students William Martin and Rusty Szerek left the University to found Raging Bull in August 1998 with Rutgers University student Greg Wright.

Wright also left Rutgers University to maintain an active role with the company.

The potential for added growth for Raging Bull in light of this agreement particularly pleases Raging Bull founder and former University student Bill Martin.

"Now we're playing in the big leagues," Martin said.

"I think the deal made both of us stronger," he added.

"Alta Vista's brand positioning is 'smart is cool,' and that's our motto too. We are a good fit [with Alta Vista]," he said.

Raging Bull spokeswoman Tara Burgess also shared Martin's enthusiasm.

"We're thrilled. Alta Vista has been growing in popularity over the past few months, and it gives us an opportunity to continue our growth with that company," Burgess said.

Alta Vista will acquire Raging Bull through a stock-for-stock exchange of privately held shares of each company.

"That means any stockholders in Raging Bull receive a commensurate amount of Alta Vista stock," Burgess explained.

"This is an opportunity to leverage the strength of both companies," she said.

Martin further outlined some of the terms of the agreement.

"We will keep our brand. Raging Bull is not going to disappear," he said.

"We're going to stay on the East Coast. [Alta Vista] will use us as a base for our East Coast operations," he added.

Alta Vista also is pleased with the recent acquisition.

"We like Raging Bull because they are into community building and Web savvy with 1.7 million users monthly," Alta Vista spokesman David Emanuel said.

He noted that Alta Vista's mission in working with Raging Bull is to "provide users with a close fit between leadership in the financial message board area and build communities which will catapult page views."

Web advertisers often look at the amount of people who visit the site to determine if they want to do business with an online company.

"I think with this [acquisition] our advertising will increase," Emanuel said.

According to the Financial Times, Alta Vista is believed to be planning an Initial Public Offering early next year worth more than five billion dollars.

"I'm optimistic about Alta Vista's IPO status," Martin said.

Although he is looking forward to working more closely with Alta Vista, Martin said he misses the days when Raging Bull was more autonomous.

"I think it's a great deal, but it's also very emotional," he said.

"It's like when a politician wins a huge election and then wakes up the next morning and doesn't quite know what he'll face," he added. "A lot of things are still up in the air, but ultimately it's a win-win situation."

Martin also said many online companies were interested in acquiring Raging Bull before Alta Vista.

"We had almost two phone calls a week from people interested in buying us. About five months ago we started working with Alta Vista and it just seemed like a natural fit," he said.

Burgess also said the two companies would make a good match.

"We've had a relationship with Alta Vista since June, providing their financial message boards ... so it was a natural progression," she said.

"Being able to leverage our strengths is a good fit for people who like [Alta Vista and Raging Bull]," she added.

Burgess said users will benefit from the acquisition because "now people have access to the financial resources of both sites."

Raging Bull also will help Alta Vista maintain a Web site called AltaVista Live! Money.

AltaVista Live! Money is a free online service that allows users to read investing information from business and financial sources such as Reuters, CBS Market Watch and Business Wire. Raging Bull will offer its content for Alta Vista Live! Money.

"Alta Vista Live! takes it from just being a search engine into an information resource," Martin said.

Since the acquisition, Raging Bull has seen continued success.

"Our volume of page views has been increasingly steady within the past few weeks," Burgess said.

Alta Vista remains positive regarding the acquisition.

"Raging Bull is the leading financial site. It's good for users and its good for us," Emanuel said.


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