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Durand acquires Electric Minds

Electric Minds says it has sealed a deal with a buyer, saving the online community from near-certain death.

Electric Minds said today that it has sealed a deal with a buyer, saving the online community from near-certain death.

Durand Communications, which runs CommunityWare, an Internet messaging and communications site, will announce tomorrow that is acquiring Electronic Minds' assets, including its trademark, logo, and domains.

As reported by CNET's NEWS.COM last Monday, discussion of the buyout has been a hot topic in E-Minds' online discussion area.

Electric Minds founder Howard Rheingold will still play an active role in the company, according to a spokeswoman. But details about how much Durand paid for the company's assets weren't revealed. More information will be released during the announcement, the spokeswoman added.

"Under the current agreement, the two community services will remain separate entities but will share in a common user registration process that seamlessly affords each service participant access to the other," according to a statement about the deal. "The Electric Minds servers will moved to Durand's offices and Durand Communications will be hosting the site.

In addition, Durand plans to integrate some aspects of Electric Minds into its own service and "Rheingold will participate within CommunityWare, helping to integrate many of the same social principles evolving within Electric Minds."

In recent online chats, E-Minders seemed bit wary about the transfer of the community to Durand. Members wondered if Durand would keep E-Minds a free and open community as well as the company's technological capabilities for conferencing.

Members' hopes of staying on the current site evaporated last month when Rheingold told them in an online message that despite its success in getting new clients to develop online communities, it was going broke because the venture capital arm of Softbank withdrew an investment promise of $500,000.

Rheingold publicly stated that the community was all but doomed unless an investor stepped forward. That's when Durand called. But although Rheingold and E-Minds president Wendy York-Fess can agree to sell the assets of E-Minds, they can't promise that the people who make up the community--and who could make the community a moneymaker--would necessarily go to a new E-Minds.

A group of E-Minds members, upon hearing about the financial troubles, began forming a cooperative corporation to ensure its the community's existence. It is unclear what will happen to the corporation after the sale.