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American Century Invests in Boomer Website


American Century Investments of Kansas City, Mo., is hoping to expand its reach into the baby boomer and retirement market with an investment in a boomer website.

American Century and a group of other investors, including CBS and Merrill Lynch, are taking an $89 million stake in ThirdAge Media of San Francisco, Calif. ThirdAge Media runs the ThirdAge.com website which caters to baby boomers.

"Third age" is a term that the websites' creators use to describe retirement-age people who are younger than senior citizens. These are people who are finished with their careers and with raising families but are still very active. The website caters to people between the ages of 45 and 65. About one-third of all American Century funds shareholders are in that demographic group, according to Joe Greene, vice president of direct marketing for American Century.

Membership to the ThirdAge site is free. The site offers a wide range of services, including access to online shopping, news that is of interest to baby boomers, information on health and money and even a dating center for single boomers. ThirdAge also provides members free e-mail and home pages. There are also chat rooms.

Greene said his company is still discussing with ThirdAge what types of projects the two companies might collaborate on and he declined to disclose ideas under discussion. But, he said the two companies will certainly share information.

Greene also declined to comment on the possibility of joint marketing or advertising efforts and how much of a stake American Century has in the company. The two companies expect to announce plans soon, he said.

ThirdAge is expected to use the investment to increase advertising and marketing and to buy technology to enhance the site, according to an American Century news release.

For CBS's 30 percent stake in ThirdAge, ThirdAge is to receive $54 million in advertising and promotion through CBS media and marketing outlets.