Daum confirms it’s in negotiations to buy Lycos

As I had speculated in an earlier post before any news organization, South Korea-based Daum Communications has confirmed it is the winning bidder for Barcelona, Spain-based Terra Networks’ Lycos Inc. division. The boards of directors of both Terra and Daum have reportedly agreed to the sale. All that remains is haggling over the exact price and other contractual niceties, according to this report from CNET Networks’ Silicon.com property.

The price is said to be in the range of $95 and $115 million U.S., above Lycos’ assessed book value of $90 million. Still, it’s considerably less than the all-stock $12.5 billion merger deal that combined Terra and Lycos into what was promised as “one global Internet powerhouse” in May 2000. Instead, four years later, Terra has had to write down almost $12.4 billion from the merger. Moreover, the Lycos portal is a second-tier, has-been Web portal that isn’t even in the top 10 most visited properties according to the June Web traffic reports from Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Networks.

It’s worth noting that Terra’s 32.1 stake in Lycos Europe, a completely separate entity, is not part of the deal. However, here’s a look at the loot Daum takes back with it on the boat back to South Korea: Angelfire, Gamesville, HotBot, Lycos Mail, Lycos People Search, Matchmaker, Quote.com, Raging Bull, Sonique, Tripod, both Wired magazine and Wired News, plus numerous Lycos branded, targeted e-commerce Web sites.

Very interesting, indeed.

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Target to sell Mervyn’s for $1.65 billion

Target to sell Mervyn’s for $1.65B: “Target Corp. said Thursday it is selling its Mervyn’s department stores and that chain’s credit-card operations in a two-pronged deal worth $1.65 billion.”

Well, it’s not at all unexpected. Target has been looking to shed its non-core divisions so that it can focus on its main business — owning and operating its popular Target discount stores, which rank No. 2 in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart. In June, it agreed to sell its upscale 62-store Marshall Field’s department store chain to May Department Stores for over $3.2 billion.

Some specifics of the Mervyn’s deal. All 257 Mervyn’s stores in some 13 states will be sold and the Mervyn’s chain will operate as an independent company, owned by group of private equity companies that are buying it. They are: Sun Capital Partners, Cerberus Capital Management, and Lubert-Adler/Klaff and Partners. Value of the deal is $1.65 billion. As well, it’s selling its private label Mervyn’s credit card business for $475 million to GE Consumer Finance, a division of General Electric Co.

Oh, and I chose the article from CBS MarketWatch as it was the most detailed, yet not too long. Plus, I felt I’d been featuring AP and Reuters articles too frequently. So, the 11-paragraph article by Jennifer Waters, Chicago bureau chief for CBS MarketWatch, is well worth the read.

Terra finds buyer for Lycos

Terra finds buyer for Lycos: “Spanish Internet service provider Terra Lycos is finalizing a deal to sell its U.S. portal business to a South Korean company for a price above its book value of $75 million, the Spain-based newspaper Expansion said Wednesday.”

Additionally, the price is said to between $95 and $115 million and will likely be an all-cash deal. Does anyone want to speculate on whom the buyer might be? If it is indeed a South Korean company, I would be willing to place a gentleman’s bet that Daum Communications is the buyer. The reason? The South Korea-based Daum is said to be looking at expanding its successful Web portal business beyond southeast Asia and into the lucrative U.S. market. Earlier this month, a news article was circulating that Daum was in talks to buy Newcastle, Wash.-based Mail.com Corporation. So, it’s quite possible they’ve been negotiating to buy Waltham, Mass.-based Lycos, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Terra Networks S.A.

Stay tuned… and remember, you heard it here first.

Battle for leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party brewing?

Political Connections: Job From Hell: Liberals’ 2005 Campaign Boss: “Not only is Campbell unpopular, he is also practically the only public face of his government. And then there is the growing dissent factor. Rumours reaching Political Connections say Solicitor General Rich Coleman is putting together a “just in case” leadership team for the possibility that Campbell resigns before the May 17, 2005, election. Not to push the leader out the door, just to be ready.”

Bill Tieleman, the brilliant columnist for the left-leaning Georgia Straight newspaper and CBC political commentator, writes in a recent Political Connections column that B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Rich Coleman is preparing for a possible run for Leader of the B.C. Liberal Party. Premier Gordon Campbell is the party’s current leader but may be forced to resign because of his immense unpopularity across the province stemming from his government’s failed privatization schemes, his January 2003 arrest and subsequent conviction on driving under the influence of alcohol while vacationing in Maui, the joint Victoria Police-RCMP raids on the B.C. legislature in December 2003 in connection to drugs and organized crime, the corruption scandals in the embattled Ministry of Children and Families, and their extreme hard line against labour unions.

Moreover, from my perspective, Coleman, who is said to be more of a moderate or centrist, may be the BC Liberals’ only hope for earning a second term in the May 2005 provincial election. The right-wing ideologue of Gordon Campbell is arguably the most unpopular premier in B.C. history — with a 65 percent disapproval rating.

Nonetheless, Tieleman’s column is a terrific read. It’s relatively short, too, at only 28 paragraphs.

Google acquires Picasa

Google Acquires Picasa: “Google Inc. today announced it acquired Picasa, Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based digital photo management company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.”

Interesting. It was actually only a matter of time (and haggling over a buyout price, most likely) before Google acquired Picasa, maker of the Picasa digital photo management software package and the peer-to-peer photo sharing application Hello. The two struck a technology partnership in May 2004 in which Google’s Blogger service used Hello to enable its users to share photographs on their blogs.

Even more interesting, until being acquired by Google today, Picasa was owned by well-known Internet company incubator Idealab, which founded GoTo.com before renaming it Overture Services and spinning it off in a successful initial public offering. Overture was the pioneer of paid search and is now owned by Internet behemoth Yahoo!, as you no doubt know by now. Other companies wholly owned by Idealab include: Cooking.com, Intranets.com, New.net, and X1.com.

Open Letter to Google Groups 2 Development Team

Dear Google Groups 2 Development Team:

(As originally posted.)

Amidst the increased posts, Google employees working on Google Groups 2 may have missed my earlier post requesting functionality to delete a group. This is a very critical function for any mailing list or group service.

MSN Groups, SmartGroups, Topica, and Yahoo! Groups all offer the group owner(s) the ability to delete previously created groups or lists. To compete, and make Groups 2 viable, Google must add this imperative feature to Google Groups promptly. It’s one of the easiest feature requests to implement, as well.

I would recommend creating a new button in “Manage this Group” labelled “Delete Group”.

Cheers,

Doug