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Excite faces extinction

Internet giant faces bankruptcy as shares plunge...
Written by Jon Bernstein, Contributor on

Internet giant faces bankruptcy as shares plunge...

The first of the big internet portals faces extinction as market sentiment turned sharply against Excite@Home yesterday, raising the prospect of bankruptcy for the US firm. Shares plunged 46 per cent and credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Excite's $1bn debt to a triple-C. Excite@Home is made up of a number of media businesses most notably a broadband ISP service and portal. In June, it all but quit Europe, leaving only minor outposts in Italy and the UK. At the time the company blamed the weakened advertising market. Meanwhile, it has struggled to compete with its high traffic generating rivals - AOL, MSN and Yahoo! This was confirmed by net monitoring firm Nielsen/NetRatings at the beginning of the year. Analysing the web behaviour of 8,500 UK consumers, it found that 33 per cent visited MSN.com and 25.5 per cent visited Yahoo.com. Nielsen/NetRating identified a second tier of portals which included Netscape, Altavista and Excite. Excite also failed to feature in a last month's list of the Top 20 most visited sites in the UK.
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