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Vivendi May Tell Scoot.com to Shoo

Ailing media giant Vivendi Universal is preparing to jettison business search engine Scoot.com, according to the French financial newspaper Les Echos.

Scoot, which first incarnated as the British company Freepages in 1995, went on to expand in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It scored a €16.1 million ($15.8 million) investment in 1998, and proceeded to expand in 2001 despite heavy losses the previous year.

Scoot became notorious for its rapid cash burn rate, while managing to win few customers or users.

Vivendi joined forces with Scoot in 1999, with a joint venture aimed at spreading Scoot's online yellow pages service in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Last year, Vivendi staved off Scoot's collapse by picking up its continental European operations for the paltry sum of one euro -- but it also assumed €92 million ($90.6 million) in debt as a result.

Last week, BT picked up Scoot UK for £8 million ($12.5 million).