Australian-born search engine Looksmart has
returned down under for AUS$95 million (US$60 million) in venture capital
before an expected listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.
The San Francisco-based company is also trumpeting a win in the popularity
stakes over rivals Yahoo! and Alta Vista in the Australian market, although
it may be short lived.
The equity injection for the company came from large Australian investors
like Macquarie Bank, Citicorp Equity Capital Limited and Consolidated Press
This last investor, controlled by Aussie media baron Kerrie Packer, is also
owner of ninemsn, the joint Internet venture between Microsoft and
Australia’s largest television station, the Nine Network.
The new investment comes soon after Looksmart announced a deal with the
Microsoft Network in the US to become its premier search provider.
The total capital raised by Looksmart now totals AUS$125.9 million (US$79.2
million), which the company said would help it “forge further strategic
partnerships, build advertising sales activities and finance Looksmart’s
massive brand marketing campaign.”
Future improvements to the looksmart.com site include an interface teak,
the addition of a “personal investor channel”, and expansion of its
e-commerce shopping areas.
Looksmart also claimed that it had “overtaken” Yahoo! and Alta Vista to
“become Australia’s number one Web directory,” citing results from metrics
site Top 100 Australia.
While Top 100’s site is still not out of its beta stage and is not publicly
available, the only existing metric source on the subject, Where did we
go?, did place Looksmart at number 8 ahead of Yahoo! at 10 and Alta Vista
at 17 for the week ended April 2.
However, Looksmart has been trading places with Yahoo! for most of the past
month, and has only recently cracked the top 10 at WDWG.