Thus grows sales, makes a loss
QXL partners up with Lycos
Amazon.com is getting ready to open in Japan. An Asian call centre will be up and running by the end of this year in Japan and a Japanese-language site will be available by next spring. Meanwhile, Amazon.co.uk has also added a new software store and new PC and video games store to its site.
ISP Thus saw sales grow six per cent to £50.6m for the quarter ended June 30, with a pre-tax loss of £8.7 million, against a profit of £1.7 million for the same period last year.
Online auctioneer QXL.com is to become the main auction partner for Lycos-Europe in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. QXL will get a high profile presence on the Lycos home page, Shopping Centre, and certain directories.
Insurance giant Axa is to join up with high street bank Woolwich to offer a combined bank and insurance Internet site. Run through Axa's site, the new service is to offer current, savings, credit card and loans accounts. Savings may also be offset against mortgages. Called Axa Open Plan, the service will be made available over the Internet, WAP and digital TV and through cash machines. A call centre will also be set up.
Thomas Cook has become the first travel agent to get into bed with Energis over its new travel industry extranet. The Energis Travel Network service offers booking and holiday info at a flat fee over the Net. The company has Going Places, Lunn Poly, Virgin Atlantic and Eurostar among its customers.
Venture capital firm nCoTec ventures has made George MacRitchie head of investments. MacRitchie will be responsible for investments in Europe, and will also join the company's board of directors.
Swedish telecoms operator Telia blames poor market conditions for its withdrawal from the sale of its cable TV operation, com hem. The company says it will float the unit instead, which earlier in the year was valued at between $1.6billion and $2.2billion. An analyst told the FT that Telia has been unable to sell because: "It is too attached to the previous valuations at a time when the value of such assets has dropped."
Provident Equity has nabbed John Hahn, a star player, at Morgan Stanley, as it makes its push into Europe. The company has $1 billion to invest in Continental and UK start-ups, and Hahn will be directing the cash. The money will be spent over three to five years on telecoms and Internet infrastructure ventures. Hahn expects to make about 20 $50 million investments.
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