When a company sets its sights on strategic acquisitions, it typically does so from a position of strength. But when Sacramento, Calif.-based Ins-Web Inc. revealed in late November that it would acquire the online insurance assets of Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit Inc., it showed that even a financially vulnerable entity can wheel and deal.Amid a checkered fiscal 2000, InsWeb still found the financial muscle to purchase Alexandria, Va.-based QuickenInsurance.com-its chief rival in the online insurance market. The deal should be finalized during the first quarter of 2001 following regulatory clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

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