Internet portal Infoseek has agreed to sell The Walt Disney Company a 43% stake in the company for US$70 million in cash and Disney's majority interest in Web developer Starwave Corp.
Disney, in Burbank, California, will receive 25.8 million shares of Infoseek stock, a minority slot on its board and the option to buy a majority stake in the California-based firm in the future. Infoseek, in return, agreed to spend $165 million to promote the expanded site, which combines the branded assets of ABCNews.com and ESPN.com -- joint ventures between Starwave and Disney -- with Infoseek's Internet search and directory services, the companies said. Disney paid $250 million for a majority stake in Bellevue, Washington-based Starwave, a private company, in April 1997.
Infoseek and Disney, which have 14 million and 9 million users, respectively, said they plan to launch the expanded portal site later this year. In addition to ABCNews.com and ESPN.com, the site will feature ABC.com, Disney.com, Disney's Blast Online and the official sites of the NFL, NBA and NASCAR. The companies didn't disclose the deal's total value and said no major personnel changes were planned.