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Compaq moves closer toward Alta Vista spin off

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Compaq is set to sell off Alta Vista in a move that will transform the Web portal and "take it to a new level". A number of reports from the US this morning appear to confirm a story published by The Register a fortnight ago which said that Compaq was about to part company with Alta Vista following last year’s acquisition of Digital (see Alta Vista to go it alone). Compaq is remaining secretive about specific details until a press conference scheduled to take place in the US today. The only thing spokesman Jim Finlaw would say was that today's meeting would "take [Alta Vista] to a new level". Speaking earlier this month, Alan Hodel, senior PR manager at Compaq US, refused point blank to be drawn on the subject. Yet Compaq's reluctance to discuss the matter has only served to fuel speculation over the last couple of weeks that something has been 'going down' behind the scenes at the Houston-based company. Indeed, analysts still aren't sure if today's meeting will announce a spin off -- or merely Compaq's intention to do so. Or, indeed, whether Compaq will disappoint many of the pundits who believe a sell-off is imminent, and announce something completely different instead. A fortnight ago Compaq announced it was to buy Shopping.com for $220 million to help bolster AltaVista's e-commerce credentials. ®

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