Johnson & Johnson buys BabyCenter.com from eToys

By Jennifer DiSabatino, Computerworld |  Business

Four days after ailing Internet toy store eToys Inc. said it would file for bankruptcy, Johnson & Johnson announced that it will buy eToys subsidiary BabyCenter.com.

"Johnson & Johnson was attracted to the superior content and personalized relationship that BabyCenter, as the leading online parenting brand, has created with millions of parents from conception through childhood," said Christian Koffmann, worldwide chairman of the consumer and personal care group at the health care products company.

Los Angeles-based eToys said Monday that its liabilities total about $274 million, far more than its assets can cover, and that it had no choice but to file for bankruptcy protection. In January, the company reported losses of $74.5 million for the third quarter alone and laid off 70% of its staff.

The deal, an all-cash transaction worth approximately $10 million, will bring the child care portal, as well as its affiliate sites, ParentCenter.com and BabyCentre.co.uk, under the control of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc.

The information-heavy portal will continue to operate as an independent, free-standing unit, a company spokeswoman said today, and BabyCenter Inc. will continue to run its Web site from its San Francisco headquarters.

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