Interactive Investor International looking for a buyer

Losses for the last quarter are an improvement on the last three months of 2000, but III predicts that advertising revenues could be down later this year

Internet personal finance site, Interactive Investor International (III), said on Tuesday that it was still seeking a buyer after making a net loss of £2.3m in the first three months of this year.

Although the deficit is an improvement on the previous quarter -- when the group lost £4m -- difficult times may be ahead, as III warned that advertising revenues could be lower in the second half of 2001. It also admitted that online sales of ISAs and other personal financial products had been disappointing, even though sales were 39 percent up on last year. The group still has cash reserves of £51m.

In a trading statement, the company said that it was hoping to agree a "strategic partnership" with a third party, which could lead to a sale. It claims that it is in talks with a number of potential buyers. III's share price was not affected by the second quarter results and stuck around 23.5p compared to a 52-week high of 104p. At the height of the Internet boom, shares in III changed hands for over £4.

Interactive Investor International was founded in 1995, and is one of Europe's oldest and largest financial Web portals. It was described as being the "stickiest" UK financial Web site in a survey last year, with users logging on for an average of almost one hour each month.

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