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CMGI may take venture arm public

The company is considering selling shares in @Ventures, its venture fund unit, to the public, chief executive David Wetherell says.

David Wetherell BOSTON--CMGI, which operates several Internet venture funds and owns AltaVista and other online companies, is considering selling shares in its venture fund unit to the public, chief executive David Wetherell said.

CMGI doesn't have a timetable for taking its @Ventures unit public, though it's investigating the feasibility of the plan, Wetherell said at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Boston.

The Andover, Mass.-based company owns several Internet companies through its operating business, which has agreed this year to acquire several Internet advertising companies, such as AdForce. The @Ventures arm runs several funds that have made investments in companies such as Chemdex, an online seller of laboratory chemicals and equipment, and MotherNature.com, which sold shares to the public this month.

"If we do it, it will be sooner than later, but I can't give you a date," said Wetherell, who added that the company was considering the plan as a way of allowing people to invest directly in the company's funds.

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