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USA Networks splits itself in three

The cable TV giant will divide itself into three business units in response to its massive growth during the past five years.

    Cable TV giant USA Networks said today that it will divide itself into three business units in response to its massive growth during the past five years.

    The three new businesses will cover information, entertainment and retailing.

    USA Information and Services will combine Ticketmaster, Styleclick.com, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, Match.com, Hotel Reservations Network, Precision Response and a database marketing service.

    Those subsidiaries handle more than $3 billion worth of consumer transactions annually, the company said in a statement. As a whole, they generated revenues of about $900 million last year.

    The second unit, USA Entertainment, will include the company's television and film businesses, the Sci-Fi and USA Network cable channels, and entertainment-oriented Internet properties. Those subsidiaries produced more than $1.4 billion in revenues last year.

    The third unit, USA Electronic Retailing, will be made up chiefly of the Home Shopping Network and related assets, which generated revenues of about $1.4 billion in 1999.

    The New York-based media giant said it will consider an initial public offering of USA Information and Services at some point in the future.

    Today's announcement comes two days after USA Networks' science fiction Web site, SciFi.com, said it is merging with the Web offerings of Centropolis, the creator of movies such as "Independence Day." The move combines the two largest sci-fi Web sites.

    USA Networks' regrouping follows 15 acquisitions and an eightfold increase in revenues to more than $4 billion during the past five years, according to the company.