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Animalhouse fetches Universal $4 million

Universal Pictures sells its stake in popular Web site Animalhouse.com to partner Hyundai Information Technology for about $4 million.

    HOLLYWOOD--Universal Pictures has sold its stake in popular Web site Animalhouse.com to partner Hyundai Information Technology for about $4 million.

    Under terms of Wednesday's deal, the Korean-based subsidiary of Hyundai Business Group, which owns the Hyundai car company, takes full ownership of the site, which targets college students with free email, job boards, chat rooms, online shopping, news, travel, and games.

    Although expected, Universal's move to unload its stake in the Web site is still unusual, coming at a time when studios are beefing up their efforts on the Internet and especially considering the demographic the site attracted.

    The sale means Universal has only its corporate Web site and the Universal Music Group sites to fall back on.

    "We grew the site into something amazing and that we're proud of," said a Universal source. "But Universal has decided to focus more on its core businesses."

    Universal and Hyundai launched the site last summer, investing $6 million in the effort. The site's value is expected to have been boosted after attracting a slew of advertisers and more than 1 million registered users, mostly college students.

    Story Copyright © 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.