|Staples, Inc., and Point.com, Formerly Wireless Dimension, Enter E-commerce Joint Venture|
|Staples' $3.5 Million Investment Brings Point.com Total Financing to Approximately $18 Million
SEATTLE and FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 18, 1999-- Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS - news) and Point.com (http://www.point.com), the leading Web retailer of wireless phones, service plans and accessories, today jointly announced an e-commerce venture to lead wireless communications sales over the Internet. Additionally, Staples took a minority position in Point.com, investing $3.5 million, to bring Point.com's total funds raised to nearly $18 million.
Point.com also announced the immediate change of its product and corporate identities from Wireless Dimension and Nth Dimension Corporation to Point.com and Point.com, Inc., respectively.
``Point.com's one-stop, wireless shopping guide eliminates the confusion shoppers face when selecting the communications products and service plans that best fit their needs,'' said Staples Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas G. Stemberg. ``Our investment reflects Staples' commitment to Point.com's success, and to integrating e-commerce applications across our company to drive down the cost of doing business.''
``Teaming with Staples allows Point.com to help Staples' millions of shoppers quickly compare and buy the right wireless phone package at the right price, from the largest selection,'' said Point.com co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Court Lorenzini.
Through the joint venture with Staples, Point.com will manage the co-branded wireless telecommunications store within Staples.com (http://www.staples.com). Shoppers will be able to enter the co-branded site through the Staples.com home page and have seamless and immediate access to Point.com's selection of more than 3,000 service plans, 200 phones and 1,000 matching accessories. In addition, Staples.com will soon be available on PCs in Staples' superstores, giving retail customers in-store access to Point.com to help them better select the most appropriate wireless communications for their needs.
Staples' investment, along with funding from Columbia Capital Equity Partners II and Cedar Grove Partners, completes Point.com's third round of equity financing. Previous investments from Oak Investment Partners, IDG Ventures and Kirlan Venture Capital filled out the equity financing of $14 million, bringing Point.com's total funds raised to approximately $18 million.
``Point.com has established a tremendous leadership position in wireless e-commerce, and we are very enthusiastic about its prospects,'' said Karl Khoury, principal of Columbia Capital.
U.S. wireless subscribership is currently at 74 million, and is expected to reach 91 million by the year 2001 (Forrester Research, 1999). Most U.S. cities offer consumers more than 40 different wireless service plans to choose from, with larger markets like New York and Seattle offering from 70 to over 90 choices. Only at Point.com can consumers compare side by side virtually every available wireless phone and service plan in their area, identify the package that meets their needs and buy online.
The company changed its identity to Point.com because the Point.com brand name better communicates the company's core benefit of helping people quickly ``get to the point'' of a smart wireless purchase and lays the groundwork for broadening Point.com's brand positioning as an innovative e-commerce business across several categories.
Launched in the fall of 1998, Staples.com is Staples' e-commerce business unit that serves the home office and small-business customer via the Internet. The virtual store offers easy-to-use, customized features and intuitive functions to slash the cost and hassle out of purchasing office supplies. More than 6,000 products are available on Staples.com, and it is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers receive free delivery on all orders over $50 and next-business day delivery is available in most U.S. markets.
Staples, Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses, from home-based businesses to Fortune 50 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has over 44,000 employees serving customers through more than 960 office superstores, mail-order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at http://www.staples.com.
About Point.com, Inc.
Point.com is the leading Web retailer of wireless phones, services and accessories. Point.com has already helped nearly 3 million people buy wireless products and services since its May 1998 launch under the Wireless Dimension name. The privately held company was formed in October 1995 by Lorenzini, formerly with Cisco Systems, and President Doug DeSantis, formerly with Microsoft.
Point.com, Wireless Dimension and Nth Dimension are registered trademarks of Point.com, Inc.
Point.com, Inc. Leigh Barer, 425.951.4437 firstname.lastname@example.org or Ariana Nikitas, 425.951.4465 email@example.com or Staples, Inc. Shannon Lapierre, 508.253.8468 firstname.lastname@example.org