Disney Takes Control of Infoseek

The Walt Disney Co. Monday unveiled plans to merge its Buena Vista Internet Group with Infoseek Corp.

Disney, which already owns about 42 percent of Infoseek, will increase its stake to about 72 percent. Disney’s Internet holdings will also trade separately on the New York Stock Exchange. Disney has already placed its Internet assets into a new portal dubbed the Go.com network.

Infoseek shareholders will receive 1.15 shares of go.com for each of their Infoseek shares. The deal, which still must be approved by Disney and other Infoseek shareholders, is expected to close by the end of this year.

Infoseek President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Motro will be leaving after a short transition period following the deal’s closing.

Thomas Staggs, Disney’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will lead a transition team. Staggs said the combination will eliminate operational redundancies and make it easier to take advantage of the growth in electronic commerce, international expansion and broadband.

Michael Eisner, Disney’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the combination will take the company’s online strategy to a new level.

“Go.com will unlock the value and potential of our combined Internet assets and position them to ignite the marketplace with new products and services reaching millions of current and new users around the world,” he said.

Disney expects its Internet assets to generate about $350 million in pro-forma revenues in this fiscal year.

The company said it will continue to promote go.com across all its media properties.

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