Cash Register: Jan 4-31, 2000
All the news that's print to fit
31 Jan 2000 Freeserve is in talks to buy Dorling Kindersley, after it was reported that the publisher issued a profits warning last week. Sources claim that Freeserve boss, John Pluthero, could be about to part with £500 million in cash and shares for the for P B Bear to Star Wars publisher.
Voss Net has appointed Robert Burns, 33, as their new FD. Burns has worked at Voss Net for two months. Before that he was chief accountant at Zuken-Redac, part of software company, Zuken Inc.
Former IBM UK CEO and Silicon Graphics GM Javaid Aziz has been appointed as an executive board director of online financial group eXchange Holdings.
France Telecom last night took full control of the loss-making Global One telecommunications alliance paying a total of $3,882bn (£2.35bn) to Sprint Communications and Deutsche Telekom. The deal ends an unhappy alliance between the stakeholders who each held different management strategies for the company.
WH Smith expanded its online sales market yesterday in a deal to allow the company access to BT's online customers. Notice of the tie-up coincided with news that WH Smith found High Street trading difficult at the end of last year, but saw online trading grow by 55 per cent over the last 19 weeks. WH Smith Online hopes to have a 30 per cent share of the online book market within three years challenging companies such as Amazon and BOL.
26 Jan 2000 Newmedia Spark plc is to invest £1 million for a minority stake in online business-to-business travel service, Travelstore.com.
ZY.com has received $5 million in first round private placement. The Internet Application Service Provider will use the cash to set up a US operation and extend its European customer base.
Business to business ecommerce hub Hyperchannel today received $24 million funding to develop its cost-saving procurement and automated trading system Hyporium. Hyperchannel already has its system throughout much of Europe including the UK for buyers and sellers in the $300 billion European IT market. The funding came from GS Capital Partner III, LP and affiliates, GE Equity and MRV Communications Inc.
24 Jan 2000 Regional newspaper publisher Newsquest plc is to take a 9.9 per cent stake in Freeserve Auctions, the ISP's online auction service. In return, Freeserve Auctions will receive £10 million in "advertising support" from Newsquest's regional newspaper titles over three years plus £2 million in cash.
Chrysalis Group Plc has confirmed weekend press speculation that it is considering a small fund raising to invest in early stage New Media opportunities. It's likely that any investment will tie-in with Chrysalis's existing assets, particularly in radio, music and sport.
Online estate agent, easier plc, has applied to join AIM. If successful the move could raise £12 million, the company said today.
21 Jan 2000 365 Corporation, the sports and music portal, is expanding its production arm with a move into TV. 365Television will "make programmes and interactive content for digital television, and further looks to exploit 365's existing brands and content over the broadband and television platforms". Its first product is a documentary on convicted rapist Mike Tyson, which is broadcast on the BBC on Jan 31.
Lastminute.com has launched in Sweden, and says it plans to open localised sites for Denmark and Norway, in coming months.
Sports Internet is climbing into bed with Brendan Foster, former Olympian long-distance athlete and current businessman, with a site devoted to running. Called onrunning,com, the site will feature stats and details of race results, lifestyle content, a registration facility for the Great North Run, and an online shop, which will flog Nova’ s ViewFrom clothes brand. Onrunning is owned 50:50 by Sports Internet and Nova, Brendan Foster’s business.
Internet Indirect PLC has raised £68.8 million, net of expenses, after the hi-tech investment company secured an institutional placing of 200 million new ordinary shares at 35p a share. The company is keen to invest in private companies involved in media content, software, enabling technologies, b2b e-commerce and Internet infrastructure. The company said it will tend to avoid business-to-consumer propositions, which envisage "multi-year losses, which aggressively subsidise customers or which are overly-dependent on future advertising revenues". The proceeds of the placing will take the total net funds available to Internet Indirect to £74.7 million, the company said.
AIM-listed Net VC group JellyWorks today announced it had had exercised options to acquire shareholdings in a number of Web companies. They are: computer telephony integration outfit, ComTelco International Inc; digital media and communications start-up, TalkCast and Net dating agency MatchNet plc. The aggregate option price -- including the previously announced shareholdings in Orchestream Limited and beenz.com -- was £3,681,000, chairman Ed Guinan said today.
Magic Moments Internet PLC is to create a new subsidiary -- Magic Moments Investments Limited -- to make a series of investments in Internet and e-commerce related businesses.
20 Jan 2000 AOL profits triple but traders are worried
CNET is stumping up $700 million for robot shopping site Mysimon.com.
Yahoo Japan Inc. broke Japanese records for the price of a single share reaching over 100 million yen (£59,237). Prices topped 101.4 million yesterday. The announcement came as total revenues for this quarter were 1.61 billion yen, 94% of which came in advertising revenues. The share price today dropped below 100 million yen again.
19 Jan 2000 Freeserve has joined forces with Dialog’s ecommerce division to give users online access to Dialog’s OfficeShopper service. The two are to provide a co-branded version of the product over Freeserve’s business channel.
Simon Murdoch, the driving force behind the launch of Amazon.com’s UK Website, claims to be starting Britain’s largest Web start-up fund dedicated to cybercompanies. The entrepreneur has teamed up with Chase Manhattan Bank to form Chase Episode-1, which will launch the business to provide a $100 million venture capital fund.
The reasons behind Amazon’s losses could lay in a technical fault, according to today’s Times. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed how the company discovered it was making small occasional payments to one of its customers. On tracing the glitch, it turned out that the individual was typing minus orders and Amazon was programmed to send them the price of goods as a refund.
Channel 4 has announced plans to quadruple its spending on the Internet in 2000. The company has formed an Interactive Department to handle the expansion, and also plans to launch up to six online businesses in the next 12 months.
Net credit card fraud pushes up crime figures
18 Jan 2000 Furniture Web site slammed for cheap prices
17 Jan 2000 Buy.com prepares assault on UK
14 Jan 2000 Totalise doles out free PCs to schools
13 Jan 2000 Lastminute.com is raising $31 million from a clutch of big-name trade investors in its new finance round. Joining the shareholders' register are BAA plc, priceline.com, Bass Hotels & Resorts, Sony Music Entertainment, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Viventures and Mitsubishi Corporation Finance. Lastminute will spend the money on marketing and technical infrastructure. It also gains some hefty new suppliers, while its new trade investors gain a ready-made distribution channel for their ecommerce activities. Lastminute also presents The Register with a small ecommerce activity of its own: every day we get four – five calls from would-be customers thinking they are calling Lastminute. One of our telephone numbers differs by single digit from Lastminute's main number. What is worth to another online travel agency for us to send re-directs their way?
AIM-listed Internet VC group, JellyWorks, has invested $750,000 in WorldCap Internet Solutions, the Latin American Internet incubation company. WCIS was formed in October 1999 to develop Internet businesses in Latin America. WCIS has offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Mexico City and has just closed a $3 million fund raising deal.
Gameplay.com plc -- the British home games retailer and on-line games community -- has teamed up with BT to take part in trials of its broadband ADSL service due to go live later this year. Gameplay also signed an agreement with Cable & Wireless Communications to provide a games channel for C&WC's Web site and new snoopa search engine. Gameplay also confirmed commercial terms for hosting its on-line retail services on C&WC's interactive television service. As with Gameplay's other interactive television agreements, hosting fees will be payable and a profit share will be agreed with C&WC.
Internet Technology Group has increased turnover by 215 per cent to£16.61million for last year (£5.28 million in 1998) according to interim results published today. Operating profits increased by 38 per cent to £830,000, up a smidgen from last year (£600,000).
eVestment -- Internet and e-commerce investors -- has taken a "strategic" 10 per cent shareholding in Israel-based 4HighTech.com. 4HighTech uses the Internet to find and screen "high quality, technology driven, start up Israeli companies" and takes part in fund raisings of between $500,000 to $3 million.
10 Jan 2000 Primus Knowledge solutions is to buy Atlanta-based ecommerce software maker 2order.com for $90 million. Primus said it intended to expand its software family and enhance its consulting organisation. The deal is subject to shareholder agreement and upon closing of the deal, 2order.com will be owned by Primus.
Online auction QXL.com's founder and £250 million stakeholder, Tim Jackson will head one of Europe's largest investment funds. Jackson will become director of Carlyle Internet Partners, Europe which, according to The Times is believed to have raised more than 500 million Euros (£315 million). Jackson hopes to offer his experience with QXL and said that he had missed having an advising venture capitalist in the first six months of QXL.com.
ISP Silicon Valley plans to move from Ofex to AIM. The company, already valued at £52 million, markets free internet services and provides internet portal sites and offers ecommerce solutions.
Investment company NewMedia Spark has bought a £713,000 minority stake in Internet software company, Purple Voice. Purple Voice creates software mainly for financial institutions to convey a voice over the Internet rather than the telephone. NewMedia's chief executive, Michael Whitaker told the Financial Times that Purple Voice was poised to benefit as more telephone calls were routed over the Internet
7 Jan 2000 AIM-listed Net investment house, JellyWorks, has reached a strategic alliance with EPO.COM, a Swedish company which aims to become a pan-European online investment bank for electronic public offerings. JellyWorks said it is actively pursuing investment opportunities in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia.
Trad and new media publisher Future Network plc,has acquired four magazines and three Web sites from Dennis Publishing. The sites are home-entertainment.co.uk, hifichoice.co.uk and metalhammer.co.uk, which served a total of 1.2 million page impressions in November 1999, up 27 per cent on the month before.
AIM listed investment vehicle, e-capital, has bought 2,000,000 ordinary shares and 2,000,000 warrants at the offering price of 5 pence per share in Internet Indirect PLC. Internet Indirect is the tenth Internet and/or new technology investment made by e-capital.
The board of Web company, freecom.net plc, has confirmed press speculation that it might make an all-paper offer for business and accounting software outfit, Pegasus Group plc. The board of freecom.net confirmed it is considering an offer, but that there is "no guarantee that any offer will be made".
6 Jan 2000 Michael Lynton is to head AOL's international business to help develop its operations outside of the US. He moved from book publisher, Penguin, part of the Pearson group.
The Financial Times Group and the US' MarketWatch.com, are to launch a new Web service that will provide free, fast, incisive, real time financial and market news to Europe's private investors. The move comes ahead of the launch of TheStreet.com in Britain.
Music e-tailer, 101cd.com, generated £245,000 revenue in sales over the Christmas period, with over 21,000 packages shipped, the company said today.
5 Jan 2000 Virgin dotcoms banking arm
Dotcoms master the universe
Internet cash shell NewMedia Spark is pumping in £700,000 for a 35 per cent stake in an online M&A info-startup. Called Mergermarket.com, this launches in quarter two this year and will supply paid-for information on mergers and acquisitions throughout Europe. It will be formed from Financial News and the management buyout of an existing financial information database. NewMediaSpark were formed in October 1999 from a collaboration of Globalnetfinancial.com and Newmedia Investors ltd.
Jewishnet is expected to float on the stock market in April/May this year turning its teenage founder into a multi-millionaire. Jewishnet was set up ten months ago by Benjamin Cohen, 17, with just £150. By September 1999 the site was valued (by whom) at over £5 million. The site will be relaunched in February and renamed Sojewish.com.
Virgin Radio has been voted the Web's best radio station at the first Streaming Media People's Choice Awards, beating the best of the US' radio Web sites. This people's choice award is a reflection of Virgin Radio's outstanding achievements to establish an online community, the company said today.
4 January 1999 MultiMedia Corp takes WeddingGuideUK stake
Britain's biggest bank -- Lloyds TSB -- is to launch an Euro-wide e-bank later this year. It's understood the move is to counter other British e-banks, Egg and Smile.
Net investment house, e-capital, is to invest $400,000 (£250,000) in Exonet Communications SA. The deal represents five per cent of the issued share capital of Exonet. Exonet is to create the first Internet Protocol telephone service in Greece as an alternative carrier to the dominant national telephone service OTE SA, the company said.
ebookers.com is to buy Geotours, a Norwegian discount travel agency for "under $1 million" in cash and shares. Ten per cent of Geotours $7.5 million sales in 1999 were online.
CMGI is buying an 80 per cent stake in German-based ADTECH Advertise Service Providing for an undisclosed sum. It will act as the European arm of Adforce, another recent CMGI acquisition. CMGI also owns the rather better-known online ad server company, Engage.
Teltran, a US IP telephony company, has stumped up $17 million in cash and stock for London-based Internet Protocols Ltd, described as an "emerging provider of value-added products and services to Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and Virtual Internet Service Providers (VISP's) throughout the United Kingdom".®