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NDB, Go2Net ink 3-year pact

    National Discount Brokers Group, Inc. (NYSE: NDB) and Go2Net, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNET) announced Monday a three-year agreement to make NDB.com the exclusive integrated brokerage service for the Go2Net Network. Vulcan Ventures and Go2Net will also take a stake in NDB, the companies said.

    Shares of NDB rose 1 11/16 to 25 1/4 Monday morning. The stock has been on a roller coaster along with other online brokerages. Go2Net, an online search and directory was up 5/16 to 83 1/4; shares recently rallied on strong earnings and upgrades.

    Under the deal, Go2Net will also develop and license to NDB.com a co-branded version of the Silicon Investor financial discussion boards to allow NDB.com's account holders to view and post messages within NDB.com.

    The agreement makes Silicon Investor the first online financial discussion site with integrated brokerage capabilities, complementing Silicon Investor's community, financial research, analytics, and editorial content. It also sets the stage for Silicon Investor to expand its membership, through NDB's more than 200,000 account holders.

    Go2Net will receive an annual minimum payment of $7.5 million from NDB.com during the three-year term, of which the third year can be canceled, if Go2Net fails to achieve certain performance goals, the companies said. The agreement also stipulates that NDB.com will be prominently advertised throughout the Go2Net Network and Silicon Investor.

    As part of the agreement, Vulcan Ventures Inc., Paul Allen's investment organization, and Go2Net have agreed to purchase up to 1 million shares of NDB's stock.

    Vulcan Ventures and Go2Net will buy 500,000 shares of NDB common stock at $27 per share and warrants to buy another 500,000 shares at $33 per share. As part of the agreement, Go2Net chairman and CEO Russell C. Horowitz will join the National Discount Brokers Group board of directors.