Orion Telescopes acquired by Imaginova

New York-based Imaginova Corp., which sells products for amateur astronomers, hopes that, more than stars, it will be seeing increased sales following its Jan. 13 acquisition of Orion Telescopes & Binoculars.

“We’ll remain a separate company, operating as we always have, but we expect to see some of [Imaginova’s] software products more exposed in our catalog or Internet business,” says Tom Anglo, president of Watsonville, CA-based Orion. Orion’s stores already offered a number of the items in its Cupertino, CA, store; in January it started featuring 10-15 Imaginova products in its monthly catalog. “They are a multimedia company with a great reach into the scientific world,” Anglo says.

Imaginova’s other holdings include the Space.com and LiveScience Websites, Starry Night astronomy software, and several annual conferences. The acquisition offers Orion marketing opportunities in Imaginova’s online publications, including the placement of advertising as well as tie-ins to editorial content on Space.com.

The two companies are also a good fit demographically. Both have a largely male customer base that is mostly 35 and older, says Anglo. Imaginova won’t specify the size of the two companies’ customer files, but its vice president of marketing, Mara Gardner, says that they are “in the millions.” According to its data card, the Orion catalog has 14,315 12-month buyers.

Imaginova has not yet done a marketing analysis to determine the customer overlap. But Gardner says, “There are a substantial number of registered users of Starry Night products that can be used to expand the customer base of Orion” via catalog or e-mail campaigns.

The two companies are discussing consolidating their operations and fulfillment, says Anglo. Orion has an 11,000 sq. ft. warehouse at its headquarters with additional rented storage space a half-block away. Imaginova currently fulfills orders from a distribution center in Canada.

In addition to its Cupertino retail store, Orion operates an outlet at its headquarters. Special sections in the Orion stores devoted to Imaginova products are a possibility, says Anglo, as is the launch of separate Imaginova stores.

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