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Europ@web Buys Into Artprice.com

Le Groupe Arnault's Internet investment arm Europ@web has acquired a 20 percent stake in art auction information company Artprice.com.

At Artprice.com, visitors can search a data bank of detailed art auction results containing nearly two million entries recorded since 1987. The entries refer to the works of 170,000 artists from the 10th century until today.

Europ@Web, headquartered in Paris, France, has a war chest of 500 million euros ($520 million) to invest in Internet related companies. Criteria for investment, says Europ@Web, are that the companies should have "strong growth potential in either the United States or Europe."

In Europe, Europ@Web has also invested in the LibertySurf portal, while in the United States it has put money into Webvan (currently being redesigned), 1-800 Flowers, and health store PlanetRx.

Recently, Artprice.com, too, has been on the acquisition trail. This year it acquired the whole of Xylogic, the Swiss developer of software for auctioneers and the art market. One of Xylogic's key products is its series of economic indicators that show the estimated monetary value of each artist in today's market.

Artprice.com was created in January 1997 by Thierry Ehrmann.

Le Groupe Arnault is the family holding company of Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company. Among its brands are Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot.