Zapata ended its one-week Internet shopping spree on Friday by announcing plans to acquire chat site Coolchat. It was the company?s twenty third such acquisition this week.
Former oil drilling company Zapata said on Monday that it had signed letters of intent to buy 21 Internet sites, and to combine them into a 'portal' site called Zap.
A lot of these businesses are relatively small, little known also-rans in popular areas such as a search engine (Starting Point), financial information (Daily Stocks and Stocksheet), travel (Travel Page), online shopping (Virtual Technology and Mass Music) and games (Rock Mall).
But according to Zapata spokesperson Keith Lanigan, they have one thing in common - they are almost all profitable. However, Lanigan also pointed out that none of the deals are finalised, but are all pending due diligence.
On Thursday, Zapata said it would acquire Advancing Women, a Web site for women in the workplace. And Friday saw the announcement of a deal with Coolchat. Together with two earlier purchases, this would bring Zapata?s total to 25 Web sites. Coolchat is a Web community with a claimed 300,000 members.
Little known Zapata was founded in 1953 by George Bush, who went on to become US president. It is now a holding company mainly involved in food processing. It has a market capitalisation of about $400 million.
In May, Zapata rose to instant fame when it offered to acquire Internet search company Excite ? a company many times its own size. Excite turned down the offer.
But this week?s feverish activity suggests Zapata is serious about its stated intent to become one of the leading Internet companies. Though most observers remain sceptical.
Zapata is a publicly traded company, but most shares are controlled by the Glazer family, including president and CEO Avram Glazer.
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