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Compaq to sell AltaVista to investment house

Major Lycos shareholder touted as buyer as plans of IPO fade away

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The investment company responsible for the collapse of the Lycos/USA Networks merger now looks set to take AltaVista off Compaq’s hands. According to US sources, investment firm CMGI is in talks with Compaq to buy a range of Web-based assets from the PC giant, valued collectively at somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion. AltaVista would be part of such a deal. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), this is a U-turn on Compaq’s plan to put AltaVista up for IPO. If it goes ahead, CMGI will get its hands on its own branded Web presence. Sources have hinted that a deal could be finalised as early as tomorrow. CMGI has an 18 per cent stake in Lycos and has hinted that it might be interested in taking the portal over altogether. The WSJ said the AltaVista deal would not preclude any future plans CMGI has to buy up Lycos. Earlier this year, CMGI signalled its displeasure in the planned takeover of Lycos by USA Networks and the deal soon collapsed. ®

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