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Deal with NBC said to be imminent

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Lycos will become the Web's largest portal if rumours about the imminent sale of a 35 per cent stake to the media group NBC prove to be true. As part of the deal, Lycos, currently the third most popular portal on the Web, would merge with Snap, the minor portal run by NBC. With a combined audience reach of around 55 per cent, according to recent figures from the monitoring body Media Metrix, the new pairing would leapfrog to the top spot, bypassing the current number one Yahoo!. Executives from Lycos and NBC have refused to comment on the speculation but the report by The Industry Standard says that rumours of action were rife last week among employees at Snap. In fact, it was proving such a distraction, the report claims, that Snap employees were issued with an ultimatum telling them to stop chattering and get back to work. Elsewhere, one unnamed executive has been quoted as saying that this is going to be a "big deal" and that it is "super red-hot now". Some analysts are saying that this partial takeover could be worth more than a billion dollars. Lycos' stock price has risen threefold since the beginning of the year and much of that is due to speculation of a possible takeover (see Lycos seeks investment partner, preferably non-smoker). That said, the company's senior executives have lately been keen to play down rumours of a deal (see Lycos CEO claims partnership 'not imminent'). Last month @Home, the high speed US Internet service provider, announced it to was buy Excite, the world's second largest portal, for $6.7 billion. ®

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