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Ha-Lo buys Starbelly.com for $240 million

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Chicago--Corporate promotional products powerhouse Ha-Lo Industries announced Tuesday the $240 million cash and stock acquisition of Starbelly.com, Chicago. The acquisition gives Ha-Lo the Internet start-up it needs to deliver business-to-business brand marketing products to the Internet. Ha-Lo, also based in Chicago, will pay $19 million in cash and $221 million in common and preferred stock for Starbelly.com, which was launched in March and already counts such corporations as Newell/Rubbermaid, Quaker Oats Co., Nestle and AOL on its client roster. Corporate customers today can go to the Starbelly.com site to design and purchase products for corporate promotions. Ha-Lo president and CEO John Kelley said Starbelly.com will help increase its $580 million annual share of the $15 billion promotional products industry. Starbelly.com founder Brad Keywell said there was plenty of venture capital available to continue to grow Starbelly.com as an Internet start-up, but ``capital does not replace the need for [the] relationships'' Ha-Lo has built worldwide.
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