RealTime IT News

Sources: Lycos Acquiring MyRice.com

[ASIA] Lycos Asia will acquire Hong Kong-based China content site MyRice.com for between $10 million and $12.75 million, sources and newspaper reports indicated Thursday.

China-based sources who requested anonymity told asia.internet.com that the deal would be worth closer to $10 million, despite reports in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao that set the value at $12.75 million. The sources did not say whether the deal will be closed for cash, Lycos stock, or a combination.

MyRice.com founder and chief executive officer Antony Yip declined to comment Wednesday on a report by Beijing-based ChinaByte that his company was being acquired. MyRice has consistently ranked in surveys of the top 20 most popular Web sites in China. The sources also indicated that Lycos Asia acquired approximately 20 percent of MyRice.com in October or November, 2000. A Lycos spokesperson in Singapore had no comment Thursday on reports of the acquisition and the earlier stake.

Lycos Asia, a 50-50 joint venture between Terra Lycos and Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), has been seeking a prominent China Internet content provider (ICP) to buy for several months. The company is seen as a top contender to acquire Netease.com, currently China's top site among home users. Last week, Netease did not deny reports that the company had retained Goldman Sachs to help it find a buyer.

Lycos Asia launched Chinese-language portals for the Greater China market in May, 2000, but gained little traction in local markets. A Lycos move into China would give the company an edge over rival Yahoo!, but could potentially force the latter into countering any such acquisition with a prominent purchase of its own.