US cable access provider @Home Network is to acquire Web portal Excite in a $6.7 billion (#4 billion) deal.
The merger will see the creation of new jobs to exploit new opportunities, according to @Home CEO Tom Jermoluk. @Home's Internet access service uses the cable networks of 19 partners to deliver tailored multimedia content to 60 million homes in the US.
Excite is tailored to dial-up access and is one of the major players in the current portal wars, currently ranked sixth behind such giants as AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Lycos, according to 1998 figures.
Excite's strength lies in the personalisation of content. Excite CEO George Bell claimed that visitors were 25 times more likely to return to a site with personalisation features.
The two companies are touting the partnership as the "media network for the next century", with Excite providing the media and @Home providing the network. Jermoluk explained that with its 19 cable partners, its caching proxies, high-speed OC-48 fibre optic backbone, regional data centres and intelligent clients, @Home was able to take advantage of Excite's personalisation.
Software from Excite's recent acquisition, MatchLogic, will be able to gauge the speed of a connection and tailor the content to user's requirements.
Excite will become a subsidiary of @Home, with Bell staying on as CEO and joining the @Home board. Excite will become the front page for a combined service, with open Net access.
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