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Infoseek Takes Dip in E-Commerce Pool

Infoseek Corp. announced it will acquire an online comparison shopping guide in a move designed to expand the portal beyond search and directory capabilities and generate revenues from the burgeoning e-commerce sector.

Portland, OR-based Quando, Inc. was purchased by Infoseek for roughly $17 million in Infoseek common stock, approximately 525,000 shares subject to adjustment based on Infoseek's recent common stock price.

The purchase is subject to approval by Quando's shareholders and is expected to be finalized after the closing of Infoseek's Starwave acquisition and its transactions with Disney.

Infoseek said it plans to jointly develop various shopping and local event guides with Quando in an effort to penetrate specialized market segments. The services are expected to launch on the portal during this year's fourth quarter.

Infoseek (NASDAQ:SEEK) was up +1 31/32 trading at 25 19/32 at 2:16PM EST on the news today.

Quando develops and licenses customized directories, employing software robots to create shopping guides, event guides, contact directories, audio clip libraries, review guides, and Web site rating guides. Technologies created by Quando include EventBot, which is used by IBM intranet event guides and also in America Online's Digital City.

Comparing Quando technology with competitors such as Jango and Junglee, Infoseek said Quando's ShoppingBot technology scales through hundreds of Web sites, and also scales across dozens of data types producing comparative results for users.

"E-commerce is a huge opportunity and key to our portal strategy. Services that give consumers the comparative information they need will change the spending habits of the Internet consumer and set a new standard for comparative shopping," said Harry Motro, president and CEO of Infoseek. "We selected Quando because they have the people and technology to help us take advantage of this opportunity."

Quando's event guides feature more than 100,000 events such as concerts, plays, sporting events, and community events in more than 20 U.S. cities. Infoseek said it will announce plans for the EventGuide at a later date.

"We offer complementary technology and expertise in content, community and search," said Motro in a press conference today. "Our strategy is radically different from other portals who suffer from 'me too' content. We are integrating our differentiated content from ESPN, ABC and Disney. We are aggressive about being not just a portal, but a media company."

The news comes on the heels of Amazon.com's acquisition of PlanetAll and Junglee last week in a move aimed at further expanding its e-commerce offerings for customers.