RealTime IT News

MindSpring Springs for SPRYNET

Internet service provider MindSpring Enterprises, Inc. announced it agreed to purchase the SPRYNET Internet service from America Online, Inc.

Atlanta, GA-based MindSpring said it expects to acquire SPRYNET for $35-$45 million in cash depending on the amount of subscribers who transfer to MindSpring.

The deal, slated for completion this fall, gives MindSpring SPRYNET's subscriber base of roughly 180,000 Internet access customers in the U.S. and Canada, and customer support and network operation services based in Seattle. In addition, MindSpring gains all rights held by AOL to SPRYNET's name, as well as selected software and equipment.

CompuServe first launched SPRYNET in February 1996, offering users a Mosaic browser, e-mail software, and a Web "community" for $19.95 a month for unlimited hours. AOL later acquired SPRYNET in February, 1998 when it purchased CompuServe Interactive Services, Inc.

"Acquiring SPRYNET's customers helps MindSpring continue on our quest to become a major player in the telecommunications industry of the future," said Charles Brewer, MindSpring founder and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We think that the SPRYNET subscribers will be very impressed with MindSpring's dedication to making their Internet experience the best possible, and our ability to make this transition as seamless as possible for them."

"This transaction allows us to realize our objective of finding a strategic alternative for SPRYNET and represents a good value for America Online," said Mayo Stuntz, President, CompuServe Interactive Services, Inc. "It enables us to focus exclusively on our core CompuServe Internet online brand.