RealTime IT News

MSNBC.com's Kinsella Joins World Online

[May 10] World Online announced Wednesday that Microsoft Vice President James Kinsella, who currently heads MSNBC.com, has agreed to relocate to the Netherlands and join World Online's management team as chairman-elect on June 1.

Having been crisis-ridden for several months, leading up to the resignation of Chairwoman Nina Brink after a sharedealing scandal, World Online appears to have found a white knight in Kinsella, one of the industry's most prominent figures. He is to work with Chief Executive Simon Duffy to put the company back on track.

World Online also announced its most recent set of trading figures Wednesday, showing a loss of 98 million euros ($88.9 million), almost double the loss of the fourth quarter last year. However, at 40.5 million euros ($36.75 million) revenues were up 39 per cent over the previous quarter -- one of the few items of good news to come out of World Online recently.

Victor Bischoff, chairman of World Online's supervisory board, said he thought Kinsella had the right skill set to "further develop the World Online business strategy." He said Kinsella had quickly built MSNBC.com into one of the most successful destinations on the Internet and had turned MSN into a top advertising revenue generator.

World Online shares have lost two-thirds of their value since the March IPO, when they launched at 43 euros.

Kinsella, who said he was tremendously excited to be going to World Online, insisted that the company had great prospects despite its current trading position.

"With distribution in 15 countries, World Online is the ISP with the largest pan-European footprint. From this platform, I will work with the rest of the management team to grow our base on to new technological platforms and to build advertising, e-commerce and other revenues, in order to create value for shareholders," said Kinsella.

At the end of April, subscriber numbers at World Online had reached 2.2 million. The company said that the numbers continued to grow even at the height of the recent crisis -- perhaps proving the old adage that any publicity is good publicity.

Cash-rich, World Online revealed that it had 1.7 billion euros ($1.54 billion) in cash and cash equivalents at the end of March 2000.