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Solid Cactus has new owner

Web.Com Inc. will market area firm’s e-commerce and Web site development services.

Scott Sanfilippo, of Solid Cactus, sees new partnership as ‘getting our products in the hands of more small-business owners.’

Fred Adams FILE PHOTO/the Times Leader

SHAVERTOWN – Solid Cactus found what it needed to grow in Web.Com Inc., a buyer with a huge customer base to market its e-commerce and Web site development services.

Terms of the acquisition by the publicly traded company in Jacksonville, Fla., were not disclosed Monday.

Solid Cactus will be a subsidiary and retain its name and maintain its Back Mountain headquarters and Wilkes-Barre call center.

“We were looking for a partner to team up to enhance our product and service offerings and get our products in the hands of more small-business owners,” said Scott Sanfilippo, Solid Cactus co-founder and president.

He and co-founder Joe Palko will remain with the company they spun off in 2001 from another Internet venture, The Ferret Store.

“This was the right company that we wanted to be with,” Palko said. “We’re confident we made the right choice.”

By last count, Web.com had 265,000 customers, added the company’s chief executive officer, David Brown.

They’ll be made aware of what Solid Cactus has to offer, Brown said.

The two companies, though not competitors, knew of each other for years, and Web.com had an eye on how Solid Cactus performed with small-business customers. “We wanted to have that expertise,” Brown said.

Like Sanfilippo and Palko, Brown started his own business 11 years ago and took the company formerly know as Website Pros Inc. public three years ago.

Web.com, a provider of online marketing and advertising services, reported sales of $122.5 million for the last 12 months. It has 26 million outstanding shares and trades under the symbol WWWW on NASDAQ. The stock closed down 23 cents at $3.77 per share Monday. The company has 700 employees.

The deal that closed Monday allows Solid Cactus to keep its 125 employees. They will be eligible for stock options, among other benefits provided by Web.com.

In operating Solid Cactus as a subsidiary with its management intact, Brown said Web.com runs a very decentralized operation. “That’s our style.”

The sale ended a rumor that had been circulating for a while, said Kris Jones, chief executive officer of Pepperjam, another Northeastern Pennsylvania e-commerce company.

“It’s a perfect fit. It truly, truly is,” Jones said.

Pepperjam, however, is not for sale at this time, Jones said.

His company is happily private and focused on growth. Whoever is interested better “make a pretty sweet deal,” he said.

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