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America Online snaps up Quack.com

America Online announced after the bell Thursday that it will acquire Quack.com, a voice-activated portal company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

America Online (NYSE: AOL) shares closed off 50 cents to $55.63 ahead of the announcement.

Quack.com's portal uses simple spoken commands over a telephone to provide consumers with convenient access to online information on subjects like stocks, traffic, weather, movies, and sports.

Company official said Quack.com will be managed by AOL's Interactive Properties Group.

"By acquiring one of the leaders in the voice portal space, we're taking another important step in advancing our AOL Anywhere strategy," said President Ted Leonsis in a prepared release. "Quack.com's technology will help extend the AOL experience beyond the PC, and give our members the ability to turn any wireless or home or office phone into a robust AOL access device."

In its latest quarter, AOL raked in $334 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $1.9 billion.

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 13 cents a share in its first quarter and 59 cents a share in fiscal 2001.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of $95.81 in December after falling to a low of $40.25 in September.

Thirty-eight of the 42 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."