USA: Kmart's Online Unit Gets $80m In Second Round
Bluelight.com, Kmart's online unit, has scored $80m in financing - enough to fund its operations into next year and to consider acquisitions, the Industry Standard reported yesterday. Bucking a trend of retrenchment among online retailers, Bluelight.com, the online arm of Kmart, announced yesterday that it has raised an additional $80m from Kmart, Softbank Venture Capital and Softbank Capital Partners. The investment, which comes on top of $62.5m that Bluelight raised in 1999, will enable the fledgling e-commerce company to fund its operations into next year and will put it in a position to consider acquisitions to expand its offerings. "The marketplace is ripe for the picking if we want to expand on our product offerings or services available on the site," says David Karraker, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Bluelight. In a further indication that Bluelight is interested in acquiring distressed dotcom retailers or e-commerce technology companies, the company appointed Gilbert Harrison to its board of directors. Harrison is the chairman of Financo, a boutique investment firm specializing in retail-sector mergers and acquisitions. Kmart will invest $55m in Bluelight.com, while Softbank units Softbank Venture Capital and Softbank Capital Partners plan to invest $25m. In addition to Kmart's online retail operation, Bluelight runs a free Internet service that has attracted more than 3 million users since its launch in December.
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