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RealTime IT News

CMGI Selloff Continues

Internet investor CMGI has bailed out of managed hosting firm NaviSite , just two days after selling its stake in another once-promising investment, online ad subsidiary Engage.

The buyer of CMGI's 76 percent position is ClearBlue Technologies (CBT), a privately held managed services outsourcer. San Francisco's CBT added another 3 percent by buying out Hewlett-Packard Financial Services.

As part of the deal, CMGI and HP take minority equity positions, totaling 24 percent, in CBT. NaviSitewill continue to provide services to CMGI and some of its subsidiary companies, such as AltaVista and YesMail.

NaviSite will continue to operate as an independent entity and is anticipated to remain a public company trading on the NASDAQ Small Cap Market.

"NaviSite's brand, success, operational excellence and extensive experience in delivering mission critical managed hosting, provides a key strategic platform for CBT to continue to build a strong presence in the marketplace," said Andy Ruhan, CBT's CEO.

For NaviSite, the purchase gives it access to a data center network allowing it to to offer its "always on" hosting service to large companies nationally.

The past two years have been difficult for NaviSite, which like CMGI, is based in Andover, Mass. NaviSite has been saddled with debt and endured management changes and layoffs. To cut costs, it also sold its Streaming Media unit in April.

Officials at HP Financial Services are looking to take a more active role following the deal, and will gain a board seat at CBT. They will also maintain their alliance pact signed with NaviSite in April. HP's position in NaviSite was inherited from Compaq.

"We see the managed hosting market growing," said Irv Rothman, CEO and president of HPFS. "This transaction is a positive move for HPFS as we move from a debt holder, to partner."

CMGI, which nurtured many a startup during the dot-com boom, the NaviSite sale is the most recent step in simplifying its once-tangled corporate structure and mission.

Going forward, it will be more selective, running a few companies that provide tangible products or services in growing markets. For example, its $41 million purchase of supply chain software maker iLogistix in July. Other portfolio companies include Web and application host NaviSite, search engine AltaVista and online auction technology provider uBid.

In addition, the one-time Nasdaq star continues to tighten its belt. It bought out of a 15-year, $114 million stadium naming rights with the New England Patriots.