NEW YORK — Women’s online network iVillage.com has sold its iBaby business to Babygear.com in a deal that signals a shift away from e-commerce at embattled iVillage, which is now sharpening its focus on providing content of interest to women.
Full terms of the agreement, announced Thursday night, were not disclosed, but Babygear did say that iVillage will take an equity stake in Babygear.com, while the iBaby assets will gradually be folded into Babygear’s site. IVillage bought iBaby for approximately $12 million in cash and stock last year.
Under the deal, iVillage also will enter into a five-year sponsorship arrangement with Babygear, whereby Babygear will be prominently and exclusively featured on iVillage properties, including the home page and parenting channels, as well as the Lamaze print publications and the Newborn Channel, a cable TV channel that is fed directly into hospital maternity wards.
In a related development, iVillage will no longer maintain the e-commerce sites iMaternity.com and PlusBoutique.com, and will move responsibility for them to maternity player Dan Howard.
“We are a media company and these moves enable us to scale that model by providing information and advice within our branded communities across our strategic integrated network,” said iVillage president Doug McCormick, in a statement. McCormick joined iVillage in April.
The deals also recognizes the steep slide in iVillage shares during the past 52 weeks, from a high of 67 7/8 to 8 15/16 at Friday’s close in Nasdaq trading.
“As we continue to concentrate on our media-based content business, we can remain active on an e-commerce platform through revenue-generating sponsorship agreements with category-leading companies, rather than carry the fulfillment side of the equation ourselves,” said Candice Carpenter, chief executive of iVillage, in a statement.

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