RealTime IT News

CMGI, Pacific Century and Hicks Muse Open Global Venture Fund

CMGI Inc., Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc. and Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd. Wednesday joined to create a venture capital fund vested with $1.5 billion, which will target Internet startups based in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Each of the partners poured $500 million in to @Ventures Global Partners. Startup selections will be limited to content, community, commerce and infrastructure/enabling technologies -- areas which the three consider core sectors of the Net market.

Regional offices are to be opened in London and Hong Kong, headquarters from which the partners will offer staffing support, strategic consulting and support from each company's network.

"Our strategy has always included investing in Internet companies and incorporating them into our upcoming NOW (Network of the World) service where possible. Finding emerging Internet businesses means finding the companies that are the catalysts in the expansion of the Internet economy," said Richard Li, Chairman, Pacific Century Group.

PCCW's NOW is intended to be a converged service with interactive video and Web access, which the company plans to roll out this year. It will lean on a separate broadband Net service to be launched by fellow Pacific Group unit Pacific Convergence Corp. (PCC).

The deal follows up on Tuesday's agreement for Hicks Muse to support PCCW's successful $38.1 billion bid for Cable & Wireless HKT. CMGI (CMGI) joined the merger party by exchanging $500 million of its own stock with Cable & Wireless to gain a $500 million stake in PCCW, while Hicks Muse kicked in $500 million to join the purchasing party with PCCW stock as its reward. PCCW and CMGI have swapped shares twice previously, the latest trade last year totalled $350 million.