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Disney and Infoseek GO together 100 percent

Walt Disney on Monday said it will buy the remaning Infoseek stake it doesn't already own, rename the entity Go.com and create a new stock to track the portal.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The deal will combine Disney's Buena Vista Internet Group and Infoseek. A new tracking stock will be issued under the GO ticker.

The Disney-Infoseek deal has the approval of both boards of directors, but needs shareholder approval. Under the merger, Infoseek shareholders will receive 1.15 shares of Go.com for each of their Infoseek shares. Disney currently owns 42 percent of Infoseek and will have a 72 percent stake once the merger is complete. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Strategically, Disney said the new Go.com entity will enable it "to move the business more nimbly and effectively" and make it easier "to pursue initiatives such as electronic commerce, international expansion, broadband, third-party partnerships and cross-network sponsorship opportunities."

The creation of Go.com allows Disney to include its additional sites left out of the initial deal. Disney will put Disney.com, Disney's Club Blast, The Disney Store Online, Disney Travel Online, Disney.com's international sites, Family.com, ABC.com, Oscar.com and ABCSports.com in the Go.com network. Disney will also throw in revenue from its Disney catalogue.

"Inclusion of the catalogue will provide product sourcing, fulfilment and customer service infrastructure to support go.com's growth in online commerce," the company said in a statement.

Previously, Disney/Starwave properties such as ESPN.com were only included. Disney's corporate sites provided content, but weren't counted under the Go umbrella.

With the addition Disney properties, Disney said Go.com will have about $350 million in revenue for the current fiscal year. Of that sum, $200 million is Internet-related and the remainder comes from Disney's catalogue.

The first casualty of the new structure is Infoseek's Harry Motro, who will stay on board until the merger is complete and then leave.

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