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Luv2Roam
03-10-2003, 08:45 PM
Disney says could sell Infoseek assets
Reuters, 03.10.03, 8:28 PM ET

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 10 (Reuters) - The head of Walt Disney Co.'s (nyse: DIS - news - people) Internet unit on Monday said the company has been in discussions to sell the Web search technology it acquired in two boom-era deals valued at more than $2 billion.

Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of operations and business for the Walt Disney Internet Group, told Reuters that the company had been approached by Web-search providers who are looking to buy Infoseek's patents and technology.

"If we got the right price we'd certainly consider it," said Shapiro, who declined to give further details.

In 1998, Disney bought approximately 40 percent of Internet search engine provider Infoseek for $70 million.

A year later, the media conglomerate bought the rest of Infoseek in a stock deal worth $2.15 billion, merged its Internet assets with Infoseek and created a tracking stock called Go.com.

Disney since has since converted the tracking stock back into common shares and adopted a much more scaled-back approach to Web business, including working with partners like Microsoft Corp (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people) to provide family-friendly Internet service.

By early 2001, Disney had mothballed the Infoseek technology and pared down Go.com's money-losing operations.

On Monday, Disney said it had picked leading Web search company Google Inc. to provide search and search-based advertising services on its gateway Go.com Web site and other Disney-owned Web properties.

Several large search company acquisitions have been announced in recent months.

In December, Internet media company Yahoo Inc. (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people) said it planned to pay $235 million for Internet search-software maker Inktomi Corp. (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people)

Last month, Web advertising company Overture Services Inc. (nasdaq: OVER - news - people) said it intended to buy search pioneer AltaVista Co. (nasdaq: OVER - news - people) for $140 million and to acquire the Web search assets of Norway-based Fast Search and Transfer for up to $100 million. Analysts said the deals would help Overture beef up its search capabilities while it battles with rival Google.

Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service

Tannerman
03-11-2003, 03:41 PM
The question is, who would want to buy Infoseek? Back in the pre-Google era, it was a good engine... but these days, I don't think there is much of a market.