Net Finance News: 22-28 Aug 1999


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27 Aug 1999 ICANN moves on cybersquatting

Online sales hit logistical brick wall

Sports Internet gambles on Surrey Group

26 Aug 1999 QXL, the UK’s answer to Ebay and Onsale, estimates its revenues this year at between £15m and £30m this year - a pretty wide variation, really. In an interview with the FT, chief executive Jim Rose said the company expects to lose money "for the next year or two to get our technology in place". QXL charges 2.5 per cent- 4 per cent on each transaction completed on its website. The company aims to get away an IPO later this year, which it would give it a market cap of between £500m and £750m.

Irish bank First Active is to sell mortgages into the UK over the Internet from Q4 this year.

Amazing. Doubleclick shares jumped 8 per cent yesterday on hopes that Lycos will use its DART software to serve ads. Currently, Lycos uses technology from Engage.

Banner ads more appealing to women

Telefonica, the Spanish telco giant, is planning to IPO Interactiva, its Internet division, valuing the business at more than $2bn, the FT; reports. The company aims to turn Interactiva in to the world’s biggest Spanish and Portuguese language portal.

Pangolin has signed up Scrum.com for its Sportal Network. At the same time, Scrum.com is merging with rugbytoday.com, a US-based site. The enlarged site will launch on Sportal later this year, when unspecified but "innovative web content" is unleashed on the network (oh no not another web video channel). London-based Pangolin is backed by more than $32 million in VC money.

Pond Venture Partners has pumped in $1.29m into Breakertech, a UK start-up IT company, for an undisclosed equity stake. Breakertech will spend the money on taking Web coypright control software SoftSeal to market.

Telewest is now the sole owner of Cable London, after exercising its right to buy out minority shareholder NTL’s stake for £428 million. This implies a value of £1 billion for Cable London, according to NTL.

Disney has bought a "controlling" stake in Toysmart.com for an undisclosed sum. Disney merchandise accounts for one per cent of the 75,000 products that Toysmart.com thinks it will sell this year.

25 Aug 1999 Online bank Egg is to offer mortgages over the Web. It's already cut its variable mortgage rate from 5.79 per cent to 5.59 per cent. And mortgages arranged over the Net will not incur a £199 arrangement fee. One mortgage broker, though, warned that like a curate's egg, Egg's offer is only good in parts. Potential mortgagees should be aware that with interest rates tipped to rise, it may not necessarily be all its cracked up to be.

Software company Point4 has a new chairman. Mark Bernstein, who floated Gameplay.com, takes over the reins at the Kingston company.

Dialog could be forced to sell-off parts of business unless it can halt its slide into debt. Chief executive Dan Wagner would prefer to tempt a deep-pocketed investor rather than start spinning off parts of his business, but he accepts he may not have an option. Yesterday Dialog announced that its pre-tax profits dropped to £1.7 million from last year's £7 million, for the six months ended 30 June.

E-shopping researchers warn of too much traffic

NTL to back "fair deal" free ISP Freedomi

French ISP market to go freebie mad

US appeal court breaks trademark/domain name link

Freeserve shares fall on Goldman Sachs research note

AOL strikes my enemy's enemy deal with Kingfisher

24 Aug 1999 LineOne pokes tongues at Netscape Online

Free AOL launches under Netscape banner

Profits slip for Dialog

PSINet buys US ecommerce outfit in $720m deal

23 Aug 1999 Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG) is to buy 60 per cent of Soccernet.com from the Daily Mail and General Trust. With more than 20 million page views a month it's believed to be the world's most popular soccer site. The site will become "the cornerstone of ESPN.com's international expansion efforts".

NetStore could be about to float on the stock market. A report in today's Times claims that the application service provider (ASP) could be looking for as much as £350 million when it announces its intentions to float later this week.

Arena Leisure - Britain's biggest racecourse operator - is to launch its own tax-free gambling service on the Net. UK Racing Online should be up and running in time for the Grand National next spring, said The Times.

Tesco to launch cybercafes

Online bankers take off

Akamai announces IPO plan

Toll-free ISP in orbit around Planet

Dialog, the debt-laden business information group, is to hive off Sparza, an ecommerce licensing arm, into a separate business in advance of a flotation, the Sunday Times reports.

PSINet is shelling out $705 million for Transaction Network Services, the WSJ’s online edition reveals.

Mark Kotecha, the would-be London mayor, has sold his business Netlink Internet to VIA Networks for £10 million, the ST reports. Netlink is a domain name reseller and "one of Europe’s largest business providers of websites". Kotecha is seeking the Tory nomination for the London mayoral race next year. Meanwhile, rival domain reseller Virtualinternet.comis moving up from AIM to a dual listing on Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange, according to the <ST>. It notes that domain registrations gives the company a "strong revenue platform". So what happens when price wars really kick in?

Man Utd director Michael Edelson has bought webhosting company Magic Moments for £14 million, The Times reports. He is reversing the company into Bramhall, an AIM-listed shell, co-owned by PR superstar Matthew Freud, and now renamed Magic Moments Internet. Magic Moments was set up three years ago, has 11 staff and 4,000 customers. Last year’s sales were £509K and operating profits (a pretty meaningless yardstick, especially under the circumstances) were £33K. Founders Abby Hardoon and Victor Gareh are £4.9 million each richer after the deal. They’re staying on as CEO and COO. ®

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