Ziff Davis goes vertical

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Seeking to further position itself as a leader in a broad range of vertical technology markets, Ziff Davis Media last month acquired b-to-b online publishing company Connexus Media Inc.

The deal brought more than 60 properties to Ziff Davis' fold, including 25 Web sites, 10 weekly e-newsletters, 25 list rental databases and other ancillary paid content programs. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Acquiring CMI was a great fit for our ongoing plans to expand our vertical market presence," said Jason Young, president of Ziff Davis' Consumer Tech and Internet Group. "With this move, we've gained market leadership position in several niche areas, ranging from Web publishing to document management."

Joel Novak, managing director at Berkery Noyes & Co., said: "It would appear that Ziff is attempting to create vertical niche Web products similar to what TechTarget and Jupiter Media have done. But perhaps the biggest news here is that Ziff has made an acquisition, period, even if it is a small one. The move shows the company has regained some of the strength and stability it lost following the souring of the tech economy."

CMI's online portfolio targets mainstream and specialty b-to-b technology segments. Each property offers a primary branded Web site, as well as related content and marketing services, and is built around a subscriber database that consists of leading business and technology professionals in a niche, Young said.

The new additions complement Ziff Davis' growing portfolio of horizontal technology Web sites, including, and

Ziff Davis is in the process of incorporating CMI's assets and resources into its online division, Ziff Davis Internet. This includes CMI's entrepreneurial team, led by former CEO and publishing industry veteran Barry Harrigan.

The CMI corporate brand will remain intact for at least the short term, Young said, and all of the publications will retain their own identities within Ziff Davis.

Young noted that the acquisition was just one way Ziff Davis has expanded its vertical offerings in recent months.

"Obviously, the first way to address vertical opportunities is to develop new ones internally, both b-to-b and b-to-c, such as our launches of our Channel Insider and Extreme iPod sites in the past year," Young said. M

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