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Vodafone + Vivendi =VIZZAVI

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Europe is to get a new all-singing, all dancing portal.

VIZZAVI (vis--vis, geddit?) is the lovechild of VivendiNet (a joint venture between Vivendi and Canal+) and Vodafone Airtouch.

The pan European portal will serve an estimated 70 million people as it's rolled out country by country, brand by brand and platform by platform across Europe.

Digital TV viewers, do-WAP-a-diddy-diddy users, PC stalwarts and other gadget lovers can expect to get content and services channelled through the portal.

The portal will allow users to access personalised services such as e-mail, address book and a calendar. It will also include a search engine plus content such as news, entertainment and music, and allow people to shop online. In fact -- and here's the clever bit -- it will do everything a portal should.

The service will be based in London and but draw talent from across Europe. VIZZAVI will float within the next two year, executives said today.

The new portal is to be launched in France within the next few weeks followed by Britain in July; Germany and Italy will get their portals later this year.

Chris Gent, CE of Vodafone, said: "This agreement with Vivendi, signed ahead of schedule, marks a significant step in our progress to become one of the world's leading providers of internet services.

"It will give access to the Internet and the range of bespoke services that VIZZAVI will provide, through any form of device that can access the Internet, to anyone who chooses to use it, wherever they may be," he said.

Vodafone AirTouch and Vivendi announced in January their intention to establish a new Net company to develop and operate a branded multi access portal in Europe. ®

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