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April 11, 2008

Radio One Acquires Social Media Network Community Connect

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Radio One, Inc. has acquired the social networking company, Community Connect Inc. (CCI (News - Alert)), for a transaction price of approximately $38 million dollars.

A social networking company, CCI owns and operates a number of social-networking brands under its umbrella including BlackPlanet.com, MiGente.com, and AsianAve.com.
Radio One is a radio broadcasting company, and primarily targets African-American and urban listeners. Pro forma for recently announced transactions, Radio One owns and operates 53 radio stations located in 16 urban markets in the United States.
Noting that CCI is an innovator and pioneer in social networking, Alfred Liggins, III, CEO and president at Radio One, said in a statement announcing the acquisition, “We believe that they are a great complement to our existing radio, TV, and online properties.”
In 2006, Radio One purchased GIANT, a magazine targeting urban consumers, and has an interest in the African-American targeted cable network, TV ONE.
Through this latest acquisition, Radio One believes that it will gain a strong foothold in the growing social networking and multicultural online space.
Liggins stated that this acquisition is another example of Radio One, Inc.'s continued strategy of diversification outside of the radio broadcasting space in order to deliver a “more holistic approach to targeting African Americans.”
Ben Sun, president and founder of CCI, pointed out that Radio One reaches over 20 million people every week in radio, TV, print and online, and added “giving us the opportunity to capitalize on cross-platform opportunities for our brands that will truly benefit our members and advertisers.”
CCI's management team, according to Tom Newman, president of Interactive division at Radio One, recognizes that the Internet is less about single destinations and more about connecting people, around touchpoints of culture and lifestyles.
Upon closing of the transaction current president and founder Ben Sun is expected to continue to run CCI and will report to Tom Newman. New York City based CCI has approximately 100 employees.
Rothschild, Inc. acted as financial advisor to Radio One in connection with the transaction. Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. acted as financial advisor to Community Connect Inc. in connection with the transaction.
Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
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