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Online sports broadcaster extends reach with buy

Quokka Sports says it will acquire privately held Total Sports, in a stock deal valued at $130 million, to extend its audience reach and further its technology capabilities.

Online sporting events broadcaster Quokka Sports today said it will acquire privately held Total Sports to extend its audience reach and further its technology capabilities.

Quokka will issue 15 million shares of its common stock for Total Sports, a Web site that features real-time broadcasts of major-league and college-level games. The acquisition is valued at $130 million.

With the acquisition, Quokka will expand its audience, tap more sources for revenues, and cut operating expenses, the company said. Quokka expects the addition of Total Sports to increase its revenues to $100 million in 2001, up from projections of $50 million this year.

"This transaction will help make us one of the fastest-growing digital content companies in the world today and get us to profitability ahead of the current schedule," Al Ramadan, chief executive of Quokka, said in a statement.

Quokka provides interactive broadcasts to sporting events such as golf, sailing, auto racing and adventure sports. Viewers can monitor an array of statistics during events or follow the progress of mountain climbers trekking through the Himalayas. The site also includes news and content about these events.

The company last year inked a deal with NBC Sports to co-produce a site for coverage of the 2000 Olympic Games.

With Total Sports, Quokka gains more mainstream offerings. Total Sports produces Net broadcasts of popular sporting events, from major-league baseball to National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball and football as well as other college championship games. Viewers of its broadcasts see scores and real-time, play-by-play text descriptions of the games' events. Viewers can read statistics or purchase goods during the broadcasts.

Quokka said the addition of Total Sports will increase its audience to 3 million unique viewers per month. The deal is expected to close in October.