Infoseek to Acquire WebChat Broadcasting System

Infoseek Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA signed an
agreement to acquire the WebChat Broadcasting System (WBS) for
approximately $6.7 million, or roughly 350,000 shares of Infoseek stock, based
on the company’s recent share price.


Infoseek, traded on Nasdaq, closed at $25.62, up $4.06.


The acquisition of WBS’ 2.7 million member community “will establish Infoseek
as a leader in the increasingly important online community market,” the
company said. WBS offers integrated community services, including chat,
homesteading, messaging, and user profiles.


Infoseek, saying that virtual communities such as WBS, which allow users to
participate in discussion groups and create personal Web pages, offer
significant opportunities for highly targeted advertising.


“We chose WBS because their total integration of community distinguishes their
services among competitors,” said Harry Motro, president and CEO of Infoseek.
“Because this approach ultimately gives the customer a superior experience, it
drives page views and customer loyalty.”


“Infoseek’s approach to community as an integrated part of a complete online
service offers a compelling opportunity to the Web user,” said Bayard
Winthrop, president and CEO of WBS. “Their consumer emphasis and their desire
to put their brand and resources behind online community services will allow
us to create a superior community experience for our users and a valuable
traffic funnel for advertisers.”


The acquisition will be accounted for as a pooling of interests transaction
and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, Infoseek said.


Infoseek and WBS will have an estimated unduplicated viewership of 14,014,000
according to Relevant Knowledge. With 2.7 million registered users, WBS will
contribute an instant volume of community viewers–a significant opportunity
for advertisers, the companies said.


WBS claims more than 140 million page views per month (approximately 5 million
per day), and over 350,000 personal home pages that are linked to user
profiles
and chat rooms within the WBS community. The combined companies generated an
average of 21.5 million page views per day during the month of February.


Founded in 1990 and located in Menlo Park, CA, WBS is one of the largest and
the longest-running interactive communities on the Web.


Infoseek is a connected media company and an Internet navigation service that
also licenses its Ultraseek Server search and navigation software to companies
for their own intranet, extranet and Internet sites.

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