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Tuesday, February 9, 1999 Published at 13:52 GMT

Business: The Company File

Lycos goes home shopping - for $20bn

There has been a rush to buy popular Internet sites

One of the Internet's top portal sites and search engines, Lycos, has been bought by cable shopping group USA Networks Inc.

The new company will be called USA/Lycos Interactive Networks and will form the centrepiece of a huge new media and e-commerce group.

[ image: WWF professional wrestling is part of the USA Network empire]
WWF professional wrestling is part of the USA Network empire
USA Networks will be the majority shareholder and combine Lycos with its Home Shopping television network, while merging with phone ticket retailer Ticketmaster at the same time. The market capitalisation of the three firms was around $20bn based on Monday closing prices.

Shareholders in USA Networks will control just over 60% of the new company, 30% will go to Lycos and the rest to owners of Ticketmaster shares.

Lycos says it is the second most visited hub on the Internet, with more than 21m unique visitors in the United States alone, owning a raft of web sites like,, and and publishing Internet sites like Suck, Wired news and Hotwired.

The new media and electronic commerce venture will have a combined revenue of $1.5bn and television veteran Barry Diller will be the man in charge.

The deal offers enormous potential for cross-promotion between television and the Internet. USA/Lycos television networks reach 70m homes, its Home Shopping and Ticketmaster properties handle more than one million telephone transactions and ship more than 200,000 items each day.

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