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Lycos in Japanese Venture

Lycos, Inc., Japan's Sumitomo Corp., and Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) today announced a joint venture to launch Lycos Japan.

Under terms of the agreement, Lycos will have a 40% ownership stake, Sumitomo a 50% stake, and IIJ a 10% share. Together the companies will reportedly invest $9 million in start-up capital.

Lycos and Sumitomo will run the daily operations of Lycos Japan, overseeing local content aggregation and sales, marketing, and administration from Tokyo operations headquarters. IIJ, a Japanese ISP, has been named technology provider for the venture.

Lycos said Sumitomo is a $100 billion trading company with 9,000 employees in 88 countries, while IIJ operates the fastest and largest backbone network in Asia, including A-Bone, an Asia-wide Internet Backbone network that links Japan and the U.S.

Lycos has launched a beta version of the Japanese site that features navigation and search capabilities. News, sports, stocks, and other services will be added at a later date, the company said.

"This agreement adds to Lycos' international presence by delivering Lycos to the most Web-centric audience in the Asia/Pacific market," said Robert J. Davis, Lycos president and CEO, in a statement.

"The venture blends the talents of Sumitomo, a company with a long history of successfully building markets along with the understanding that IIJ, Japan's largest ISP, has of the Internet. Add to this Lycos' expertise in new media and technology and we have what will undoubtedly be the best Web destination for the Japanese consumer."