Sports.com may be saved

A number of companies are thought to be considering making a move for the popular sports Web site, which is now in administration

Several companies are thought to be interested in acquiring Sports.com, which went into administration last week.

The site, which had been tipped as a likely survivor of the dot-com slump, was put into the hands of London administrators Baker Tilly last Friday after a key investor refused to supply additional funds. A significant number of the company's staff have already been made redundant.

Industry observers initially felt that Sports.com was likely to close this summer, once the World Cup was over, but it now seems that it might be able to look forward to a more positive future. The word in the dot-com community is that Baker Tilly has a reasonable chance of finding a buyer for the company. It is possible that Sports.com's three main activities -- content syndication, the Web site, and its online betting arm -- could be sold seperately.

According to Guardian Unlimited, online bookmaker UKBetting is a likely purchaser of Sports.com, but other firms are also thought to have expressed interest.

Sports.com has a number of syndication deals, both with football clubs such as Manchester United and Juventus and with the likes of the Financial Times. It has struggled to turn its popularity with Web users into financial success -- despite funding from a range of backers including top financial figure George Soros.

Baker Tilly said last week that it is hopeful of finding a buyer for some or all of Sports.com, and would keep the site running throughout this month's World Cup.

US-based SportsLine.com, which owns some 30 percent of Sports.com, has revealed that it recently decided not to provide additional capital to fund Sports.com.


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