- BT has acquired 50 per cent of the US Internet search engine and web portal company, Excite, for $10 million (£6 million).
The purchase further extends BT's reach into the online consumer market, strengthening its presence in online advertising and ecommerce, and marks the first time a UK company and a US Internet portal have struck such a deal.
The two will jointly market the Excite portal, which offers UK consumers a personalised web service, free email and content areas including news, music and sport. They will also develop the site with more localised UK content.
In addition, Excite will market BT's new combined "pay as you go" web service and guide, BTClick, as Excite Click.
David Pincott, the PR manager for BT Internet and multimedia, said: "Revenue will increasingly come from transactions and advertising, as opposed to access and subscriptions, and this is our way of getting into that market more with Excite, which has a massive expertise in that area."
BT's cash injection will put Excite in a stronger position in the burgeoning internet portal market, giving it greater to resource to challenge market leader Yahoo!
George Bell chief executive of Excite, commented: "Our expertise in providing compelling, personalised content married with BT's established reputation with UK consumers, enables us to create a joint venture with Excite UK that has the potential to take a leading position in the growing UK Internet market."
For Excite, the deal follows similar deals struck in Japan and Australia and another pending deal with Telecom Italia in Italy.