Internet Service Provider America Online is tipped to buy Compuserve in a deal that would merge two of the top three home Internet access companies.
Compuserve?s chairman has admitted the company is up for sale by 80 per cent shareholder HR Block after poor results in recent quarters have pushed the ISP into financial trouble (see News, 22 March).
Although both companies refused to comment, US investment firms are sure that the rumour is sound because Compuserve is strong in Europe where AOL lags behind Microsoft?s equivalent and much-maligned service, MSN.
One source said: ?The company?s subscriber list is worth more than $9 per share. The last seven [Compuserve] insider transactions have been buys.? AOL is under pressure from a series of lawsuits bought by its shareholders and will be grateful for some good news to buoy its stock price. The acquisition would add 5.3 million subscribers to AOL?s 8 million members.
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