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SportsLine Exiting European Business

Viacom-backed SportsLine.com plans to exit the Internet media business in Europe, announcing Monday plans to shed its 30 percent stake in Sports.com.

The Fort Lauderdale-based SportsLine said the Sports.com subsidiary was placed into administration in the United Kingdom, paving the way for a court-appointed trustee to decide whether the company should be reorganized, sold or liquidated.

Sports.com subsidiaries in Italy, France, Germany and Spain are not included in the administration process but are also up for sale.

SportsLine.com, which is partly owned by Viacom (through its CBS subsidiary), said the Sports.com sale would not have any material effects on its financial condition or the business operations.

"SportsLine.com's focus has been on our core domestic business and this action will have no effect on how we operate or on our financial condition as we deconsolidated Sports.com's operating results last year," said SportsLine CEO Michael Levy. "We and the other shareholders were unwilling to provide additional capital to fund Sports.com's operations and we support the decision by the Sports.com Board of Directors to place the company in administration in order to protect the creditors."

"SportsLine.com owns and licenses the sports.com domain to Sports.com Limited under the terms of an inter-company agreement. In the event of a sale of Sports.com Limited, SportsLine.com will carefully evaluate the terms of the inter-company agreement to determine how it will be affected, including the right of any purchaser to continue to use the sports.com domain," it added.

With the soccer World Cup in full gear, SportsLine said it would run the site through the end of the wildly popular tournament and find a buyer for the Sports.com site. Bruce Mackay and Colin Haig of London Accounting firm Baker Tilly are acting as the administrators for Sports.com.

SportsLine currently operates the CBS SportsLine Web site, which competes with ESPN.com in the online sports media sector. The company has high-profile deals to create officials sites for the PGA Tour and the NFL.