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RealTime IT News

Takeover Speculation Boosts MindSpring

Rumors of several possible deals were dominating Internet stocks at midday. However, all the sector's leaders had posted losses in line with the broader market indices dragging down the ISDEX.

Just before noon, internet.com's Internet Stock Index was off 8.37, or 1.63 percent, to 506.28, the Nasdaq Composite had fallen 29.15 to 2,568.97 and the Dow Jones industrial average was off 93.40 to 10,573.46.

MindSpring Enterprises Inc. (MSPG) had jumped 4-1/4 to 82-7/8. The company issued a brief statement Thursday confirming it is discussions with unidentified parties over "possible business combinations and other alternatives." The company said no other comments would be issued until a deal is reached.

Confirmation of talks comes on the heels of Gateway Inc.'s rumored interest in acquiring EarthLink Network Inc. (ELNK). EarthLink was down 1-7/16 to 59-13/16.

CMGI Inc. (CMGI) was off 1-1/2 to 97-7/16. CMGI confirmed Thursday it had begun preliminary discussions with Compaq Computer Corp. about acquiring its AltaVista search engine.

Lycos Inc. (LCOS) had climbed 2-9/16 to 96-1/16. The search engine said it is considering taking its European unit, a joint venture with Bertelsmann AG, public. CMGI is also rumored to again be interested in taking over Lycos.

CheckFree Holdings Corp. (CKFR) was up 5/8 to 29-3/8 after trading as high as 34-1/2 earlier in the session. Investors were applauding CheckFree's decision to shelf a secondary offering of 3.8 million shares.

CheckFree tumbled Wednesday after three leading banks formed a venture to deliver bills over the Internet.

On the IPO front, electronic commerce software provider Ariba Inc. (ARBA) was giving back some of Wednesday's gains. On its second day of trading, Ariba had tumbled 12-1/2 to 72-1/2. Software.com (SWCM) was having a good debut, up 4-11/16 to 19-11/16. The company sold 6 million shares at $15, raising $90 million.

Elsewhere in the sector, there was lots of red ink, with America Online Inc. (AOL) down 3-5/8 to 108-1/8, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) off 3-7/16 to 114-5/16, Excite@Home (ATHM) down 1-15/16 to 54-1/2, Broadcast.com Inc. (BCST) losing 4-1/4 to 115-1/4, eBay Inc. (EBAY) shedding 4-7/16 to 142 and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) falling 5-1/8 to 150-3/8.

Online software retailer Beyond.com Corp. (BYND) had tumbled 4-1/8 to 28-3/4. Shares had staged a run-up earlier in the week over speculation that Amazon.com may buy the company.


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