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Satyam Infoway to Buy IndiaWorld

In a major play for the Indian portal market, Satyam Infoway Ltd. Monday inked an agreement to buy IndiaWorld Communications Private Ltd. for Rs. 4.9 billion (US$115 million).

The two-step purchase intends to meld the Web site network of IndiaWorld with the Satyam Online portal and e-commerce services.

IndiaWorld's network includes news site Samachar, the Khoj search engine and the Bawarchi food site. The network logged 13 million page views in October.

The two companies also expect an overlap between Satyam's (SIFY) targeted subcontinent audience with IndiaWorld's non-resident Indian or expatriate demographic.

"SatyamOnline is already a very popular portal in India with focus on purposeful browsing and e-commerce," said R. Ramaraj, Satyam's CEO. "IndiaWorld, with its dominant audience overseas, would provide that perfect fit to make SatyamOnline the portal of choice for India."

Satyam Infoway has purchased 24.5 percent of IndiaWorld's shares at a cost of Rs 1.2 billion (US$28 million), and has a $12 million option of buying the remaining 75.5 percent by June 30 of next year for Rs. 3.7 billion (US$87 million).

Satyam last month became the first Indian ISP to list on the Nasdaq, and has set its sights on acquisitions and the development of an international gateway as its primary post-IPO goals.