Direct marketers Naviant and eDirect to merge

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New York--Naviant Marketing Solutions Inc., which collects opt-in consumer data through product warranty registrations, said it would merge with eDirect Inc., a permission-based e-mail marketing provider based in Boca Raton, Fla. The merger will create a powerhouse Internet marketing services provider with a database of more than 60 million consumer profiles. The new company, to keep the name Naviant, will be based at the offices of eDirect, and will be headed by President-CEO Michael Brauser, who is the founder and former president of eDirect. Naviant will combine offline and online consumer data with targeted online marketing, offering companies the ability to sell to millions of subscribers who have opted-in to receive e-mail offers, promotions and product information. Brauser said that while e-mail marketing has been growing as a sales tool, the potential for opt-in e-mail is even greater in the current direct marketing environment, with security issues concerning regular mail service. The merger will create a company with approximately 150 employees, most of whom will work in the Boca Raton offices. The rest will work in Naviant's New York offices. Naviant is backed by Softbank Inc., which is also a major investor in Yahoo! Inc., E-trade Securities Inc. and TL Ventures Technology, which is part of Safeguard Scientific. EDirect provides opt-in email, e-surveys, e-newsletters, CRM solutions and Internet commercials.

--Kate Maddox

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