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Lycos inks e-commerce pact, seals Wired Digital deal

Lycos, Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS) announced doubleheader deals Thursday; it has initiated an e-commerce agreement with which could generate up to $135 million, and completed the $83 million acquisition of Web pioneer Wired Digital, Inc. it began 9 months ago.

Lycos closed Wednesday at 91 7/8.

The agreement with, a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE) will allow Lycos users to access their checking accounts; pay bills; and make and manage investments on a Lycos/ co-branded site.

"We think online banking is going to be an indispensable part of the modern lifestyle, and this agreement with will allow us to jointly offer powerful banking and financial tools to our users and communities,'' said Bob Davis, Lycos president and CEO in a company release.

Lycos' acquisition of Wired Digital was also a strategic move intended to bolster Lycos' West Coast and Silicon Valley presence and increase site traffic. Wired Digital produced the HotBot search engine and content sites Wired News, HotWired, Webmonkey and It has been credited with inventing ad banners, pioneering chat groups, and combining original content with Fortune 500 advertising

Lycos has been expanding financially and content-wise since talks of a merger with USA Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: USAI) fell apart. According to Media Metrix, the Lycos Network reaches nearly half of the US Web audience, and is the only major portal to experience growth over the past year, having increased its audience reach by 22.8 percent since May 1998. In the last nine months, successful cross-pollination of Lycos and Western Digital has led to increased efficiency and an increase in users. Traffic to HotBot increased 93 percent since September 1998 to May 1999, according to a company release.

Wired Digital's 160 employees now report to Lycos. Beth Vanderslice, president of Wired Digital, will be Lycos vice president and general manger. Ron Sege remains executive vice president of the Lycos Network.

Lycos is currently behind leading portals America Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL), and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) in market capitalization.