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Ultrahip Razorfish Acquired by Utah Services Firm

One-time dot-com darling to be acquired for $1.70 a share.
Dot-com poster child Razorfish Inc.'s days as an independent company are over. The Web-site design company, which cultivated a techno-hip image that helped define the Internet boom, was acquired Friday by privately held consulting group SBI and Co.

Under terms of the deal, the Salt Lake City firm will acquire all of Razorfish's outstanding stock for $1.70 per share. That's a significant comedown from, say, two years ago, when the company's stock traded for about $100 a share. Razorfish shares closed Thursday at $1.88, meaning that SBI is acquiring the company at a discount over its current market capitalization, and dropped as low as $1.65 a share Friday.

Razorfish was brought down by the dot-com collapse. In its most recent quarterly report, the company said it had $8 million in cash, compared with $20 million owed to vendors. It reported a loss of $190,000. Razorfish also said it was carrying $373,000 in "doubtful accounts," implying that the company was caught up in a circle of dot-com debt. Company founders Jeff Dachis and Craig Kanarick were eased out last year.

SBI, which bills more than $100 million in annual revenue, says the acquisition gives it greater geographical breadth and will enhance its ability to create Web applications for business customers. "The fact that Razorfish had refined its focus onto building extended enterprise portals made them very attractive to us," SBI executive VP Ty Mattingly says. The deal also gives SBI access to some high-profile Razorfish customers, including Manulife Financial, Western Union, and Legg Mason.

SBI will add 200 Razorfish employees to its payroll and maintain all of Razorfish's offices, including its Manhattan headquarters, Mattingly says. SBI says it expects the deal, which has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards, to close in the first quarter of next year.

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Jessica Davis, Senior Editor