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CNN to Take $20 Million Stake in Leisureplanet

The CNN News Group announced Monday that it will take a $20 million equity stake in the Internet travel service Leisureplanet.

Under the terms of the agreement, Leisureplanet becomes the exclusive provider of travel services on CNN's network of Web sites.

Massive promotion of Leisureplanet on CNN will begin early next year with a campaign worth $30 million over three years.

Clive Kabatznik, CEO of Leisureplanet Holdings said that the strategic partnership with CNN was a key step toward Leisureplanet's goal of establishing itself as the leading international web-based travel services provider.

"With the ability to reach more than one billion people worldwide and with more than 556 million monthly page impressions on its Web sites, CNN's global portfolio of online and offline properties is unmatched by any other media organization in the world," said Kabatznik. "By partnering with this powerful platform, Leisureplanet is positioned to become one of the three largest global online travel service providers in the world and thereby build long-term value for its investors."

Other aspects of the deal include Leisureplanet's provision of multilingual e-mail and telephone customer care to CNN travel bookers. Leisureplanet will also sponsor a new half-hour travel show each week named CNN Hot Spots, to air on CNN International from March.

Part of the advertising campaign will run on CNN's sites, although much of the budget will be devoted to on-air advertising on the CNN News Group's cable television networks.

"No other news organization can give Leisureplanet the same international reach and level of positive brand identification," commented David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales International.

CNN's news sites include CNN.com, financial news on CNNfn.com, and the sports channel CNNSI.com.Site integration will also take place on CNNenEspanol.com, CNNemPortugues.com and CNNTraveller.com.