AltaVista plans stock sale, considers merger

The Internet search service, majority-owned by CMGI, reportedly is planning a share sale and considering a possible merger with rival Lycos.

CMGI's AltaVista, an Internet search service, is planning a March share sale that is expected to see the company valued at more than $5 billion, according to reports citing AltaVista chief executive Rod Schrock.

AltaVista has also discussed with CMGI a possible tie-up with Lycos, another leading Internet search service. CMGI owns an 83 percent majority stake in AltaVista.

Schrock confirmed he had discussed the Lycos merger with CMGI chief executive David Wetherell and said a union would benefit CMGI and Compaq Computer, which owns the rest of AltaVista. However, the report added that Schrock said there have been no discussions between AltaVista and Lycos, nor have there been discussions between CMGI and Lycos.

He added that a tie-up would create the "second-biggest Internet new media company after Yahoo," the Financial Times reported.'s Jim Hu contributed to this report.

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