HowStuffWorks Acquires the Rights to Two Leading Online Consumer Review Resources, www.consumerguide.com and www.mobiltravelguide.com, from PIL and Acquires the Exclusive Digital Rights to the PIL Library of Over 10,000 Books and 1 Million Images
Atlanta (December 15, 2005) - HowStuffWorks, a trusted resource for people of all ages who want to learn more about the world around us, today announced that entities owned by Carl Icahn have made a significant investment of growth capital into the company. "HowStuffWorks is an attractive investment opportunity due to its valuable content, loyal user base and capable management team. I believe this investment of growth capital should enable the company to execute on its growth plans and capitalize on the significant opportunity in online content," said Carl Icahn. Mr. Icahn's investment will allow HowStuffWorks to expand the breadth and depth of its content to address the rapidly growing audience searching for trusted Internet-based information.
"We are pleased to partner with Carl Icahn as his investment enables the company to exponentially grow the content library and audience of HowStuffWorks," said Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman of HowStuffWorks and The Convex Group, the holding company which owns HowStuffWorks. "People are seeking quality, credible information on the Internet which HowStuffWorks already provides to millions of people each month. Our plan is to expand the scope of topics covered by the site, and to greatly enhance the depth of the proprietary content by integrating new resources such as objective product reviews, consumer opinions and price comparisons to the in-depth explanations found on HowStuffWorks.com. Ultimately, the HowStuffWorks network will address all of the needs of information seekers, no matter where they are in the learning or buying cycle."
In accordance with that plan, the company also announced today that it has formed a strategic alliance with Publications International, Ltd. (PIL), a 30-year-old publisher of mass-market books which produces over 600 new titles annually. Through this alliance, HowStuffWorks has exclusive online rights to the vast PIL product library of over 10,000 books and 1 million images, access to over 350 writers and editors and all future content. The PIL library includes titles in most popular consumer categories such as home improvement, sports, "how-to", medical and health, automotive, home design and cooking.
Additionally, HowStuffWorks has become the exclusive online publisher for two leading trusted sources of consumer reviews and ratings, Mobil Travel Guide® and Consumer Guide®. Mobil Travel Guide, owned by Exxon Mobil Corporation and licensed to PIL, is the originator of the prestigious Mobil Five Star Rating System® and offers independent, expert reviews on more than 15,000 lodging and dining establishments. Consumer Guide, established in 1967 and a division of PIL, is the leading provider of thousands of objective reviews and ratings of consumer products as well as new and used automobiles.
The content from both properties will be integrated into HowStuffWorks.com, meaning that the site's users will not only have the chance to understand how products work, but also understand how they perform and make better-informed buying and travel-planning decisions. To HowStuffWorks advertisers, having broader and deeper content offerings with a growing audience will create more targeted and effective advertising/sponsorship opportunities.
"HowStuffWorks, an established and trusted information source, is the ideal online platform for us to digitize our books and showcase our content to a much broader and, at the same time, more targeted audience," said Richard Maddrell, President of Publications International, Ltd. "We're taking a unique approach to book digitization by transforming our comprehensive inventory of content into individual articles that are designed and presented specifically for online consumption. Also, since HowStuffWorks is acquiring the exclusive digital rights to all of our content and images, copyright and trademark issues will not be an issue. We'll ultimately have hundreds of thousands of pieces that not only cover categories with mass-market appeal but also perfectly complement HowStuffWorks articles and seamlessly add value to the user experience."
About Publications International, Ltd.:
Publications International, Ltd. (PIL) is a large privately held publisher based in Lincolnwood, IL. PIL is one of the world's largest publishers of children's book products ranging from traditional storybooks to more elaborate books with electronic features that delivery interactivity, learning and entertainment value. PIL has been an innovator in sound enhanced books for children and owns licenses from children's entertainment giants like Disney and Nickelodeon. PIL also owns the patented Story Reader, a book that uses technology to read to you as you turn the pages. PIL introduces hundreds of new children's titles annually and sells more than 20 million traditional and electronic sound books each year. The company has recently introduced Family Reading Night with Kathy Ireland as the Celebrity Ambassador. PIL also maintains a very large database of kitchen tested recipes with photography and publishes more than 13 million recipe magazines sold at supermarket checkout and sells more than 7 million cookbooks each year. PIL also publishes thousands of general interest and specialty titles in the areas of Health, Do-It-Yourself, Home and Garden, and Inspiration.
About Consumer Guide:
Consumer Guide is a trusted source of information to help consumers make smart buying decisions with confidence. The company has published books and magazines, written by experts, on automobiles and consumer products for nearly 40 years. Each year, millions of people use Consumer Guide's reviews to make decisions about which products or vehicles to buy. Select teams of Consumer Guide Editors drive each automobile before collaborating to write a review. Each consumer product reviewed is purchased and tested by a Consumer Guide expert. Consumers have come to trust Consumer Guide to help them sort out fact from fiction, to help them identify the important features and accurate prices. Consumer Guide L.L.C. is a division of Publications International, Ltd.
About Mobil Travel Guide:
Mobil Travel Guide is published by Publications International, Ltd under license from Exxon Mobil Corporation. Mobil Travel Guide is the owner of the prestigious Four and Five Star ranking system. PIL manages a large field staff that performs hotel and restaurant inspections on a daily ongoing basis. Mobil Travel Guide publishes a series of more than 30 guidebooks and atlases covering the US and Canada, including Regional Travel Planners, the Where to Eat series, On the Road with your Pet, the America's Byway Series, America's Best Hotel & Resort Spas, and America's Best Hotels and Restaurants. Mobil Travel Guide's online Road Trip Planner offers online customized vacation planning and hotel reservations.
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