Zapata has split into two companies to enter the portal market as Zap.
Focusing purely on the Internet, the Zap subsidiary will operate as a portal site but it plans to directs traffic to sites it owns or invests in. The company has signed letters of intent to acquire 21 Web sites including Java-based chat community Chatplanet, stock and mutual funds site Daily Stocks, computer retailer Virtual Technology and travel information site Travel Page.
The company also is in talks with a large number of other Internet sites and ecommerce businesses. Zapata first tried to buy its way into the Internet business by offering to acquire Excite but the offer was turned down.
Two months ago Zap decided to spend its spare cash by launching a bullish campaign to snap up a wide variety of Web sites, including online publications.
Avram Glazer, president and chief executive of Zapata, is confident that his company has the right idea. ?As the Internet grows one has to question the ultimate fate of portals that merely point users to other sites. Zap will be both the beginning and end destination for Internet users.?
The other side of the company, which will continue with the Zapata name, will concentrate on its more established business of food packaging.
Charles Walker, managing director of Lycos UK said Zap faces a difficult future. ?Anyone launching into this area is going to have an uphill struggle,? he said. He was also unsure if people will get enough breadth of content when navigating around sites run by one company.
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