[London, ENGLAND] GlobalNetFinancial.com, Inc.,
which provides the financial channel for Freeserve
in the U.K., announced Thursday a $332 million merger with IT Internet
services provider Telescan, Inc.
The combined company, called GlobalNetFinancial.com, will be headed by
personnel from the Telescan camp, with Board member William D. Savoy
becoming chairman, and Lee Barba, currently chief executive of Telescan,
becoming chief executive of the enlarged group. GlobalNetFinancial’s
current Chairman and CEO Stanley Hollander will serve as vice-chairman.
The merger, which has been agreed by both parties and now requires only
shareholder approval, brings together two companies worth $332 million,
based on closing prices on August 16, 2000.
Each share in Telescan will be exchanged for .50 shares of GlobalNet in a
deal that is expected to be tax-free to shareholders. Telescan will
surrender its 2.56 million shares of GlobalNetFinancial stock to Treasury
when the merger is complete.
As for the rationale behind the merger, management of the two companies
see complementary strengths, especially as Telescan’s business is
oriented towards B2B in the United States while GlobalNetFinancial is
focused on both B2B and B2C in Europe and Scandinavia.
William D. Savoy, who is president of Paul G. Allen’s investment vehicle
Vulcan Ventures as well as being a board member of Telescan, noted
that Telescan was one of Vulcan’s first investments and said
the merger would extend the reach of both companies.
“GlobalNet’s business model is consistent with Vulcan’s original investment
premise — that Internet financial services companies represent the
fastest growing and potentially most rewarding markets on the Web
by providing investors with the content and sophisticated analytics
they need to help them better manage their money,” said Savoy.
Stanley Hollander said the merger was the best option for creating
long-term value for shareholders.
“We immediately acquire depth in management, a truly global footprint,
operating and financial scale, and an opportunity to expand our
early-mover advantage throughout Europe, especially in B2B,” said
Texas-based Telescan, through its Californian consumer division,
manages the financial Web sites INVESTools.com
With other sites it has altogether 1.2 million users and over 50,000
paying subscribers, and provides co-branded services to America Online,
American Express, Fidelity Investments, Forbes, NBC, and other
Looking at the deal from the Telescan perspective, Lee Barba said the
merger immediately puts Telescan and its IT businesses at the center
of the European Internet expansion.
“We can uniquely serve investors’ needs globally and do so with the
most comprehensive suite of e-commerce transaction capabilities,
delivered through multi-platform Internet access, including wireless
and broadband,” said Barba.
GlobalNetFinancial has paved the way in Europe for the enlarged
company by becoming firmly established on Freeserve in the U.K.,
on World Online across Europe, and on Scandinavia’s largest portal
Recently GlobalNetFinancial launched the first of six interactive
financial channels on Telewest’s broadband digital television service,
Active Digital. Separately it has an agreement with BT Europe for
providing financial news and e-finance services to a potential
base of 16 million mobile phone users.