RealTime IT News

Lycos Moves Into Gamesville

Lycos Inc. Tuesday made another move to increase the amount of time Internet users spend at its portal. The search engine purchased Gamesville.com, an online entertainment destination, for $207 million in stock.

Gamesville boasts that it has been "wasting your time since 1996." It features interactive live games such as poker and other card games, sports, trivia and bingo, in which registered contestants simultaneously vie for prizes. The site claims more than 2.2 million members and is a successful direct marketer.

Lycos (LCOS) will buy Gamesville for $207 million in Lycos stock plus the assumption of Gamesville's stock option plan. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year and is subject to Gamesville.com shareholder approval.

"The addition of Gamesville to the Lycos Network adds to our revenues, grows our average daily usage minutes by nearly 20 percent and adds depth to our direct marketing efforts," said Bob Davis, president and CEO of Lycos.

"We were particularly attracted to Gamesville because of the exceptional quality of registration information, which considerably expands our direct marketing infrastructure. Furthermore, by deploying their rich gaming content across the Lycos Network, we believe that Gamesville's already significant growth in users and page views will be enhanced."

Lycos has been working to build up its entertainment resources within its portal. It hosts a proprietary MP3 search engine, and also provides streaming music content. And in October, it signed a deal with sports game company Small World to bring fantasy sports games to Lycos users.

In related news, Lycos Tuesday teamed up with Interactive Gaming & Communications Corp. (IGC) to launch a co-branded casino site. The casino is based on IGC's Play for Fun casino, which allows users to play casino style games online with play money, with the opportunity to win cash and prizes. The casino can be found in the Games Guide within the Lycos portal.

No financial terms were disclosed.

The Lycos/Gamesville deal comes one day after rival portal America Online, Inc. (AOL) joined with software company Electronic Arts to create online games and interactive entertainment content for AOL.