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chinadotcom Plays Ball with Nirve Sports Deal

chinadotcom corp. Thursday signed Nirve Sports for a joint venture to push the Nirve brand in Asian markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, chinadotcom corp. (CHINA) will take a majority 51 percent stake in the joint venture and will become Nirve Sports' exclusive online distribution partner in Asia. The Hong Kong-based, Nasdaq-listed Net company will also take a 6.5 percent stake in Nirve Sports. E-commerce initiatives from the venture are expected to be introduced by the third quarter of this year, and will target the under-20 or Gen Y market.

Nirve.com Asia will focus initially on localizing Nirve's content and community for Asia Internet users, the companies said, through NirveTV, NirveRadio and NirveArcade.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"With the Asian X-games and the rising global popularity of lifestyle sports, Nirve's cutting edge content and products have enormous potential in our region," said Ian Henry, President, International of chinadotcom. "We believe that this new joint venture will make Nirve a dominant brand for Gen Y Internet users in Asia."

The deal falls into the partnership category of chinadotcom's tri-level investment strategy, which aims to incubate, accelerate or extend a company's range of online services, and partner or join with Net plays to bring the established name to the Asia marketplace.

Nirve e-tails its own line of premium BMX, trail and freestyle bikes, snowboards, skateboards, wakeboards, and surfboards, as well as accessories and apparel. Its Web site also boasts NirveRadio, an MP3 radio station and NirveTV, an action sports Internet television station.