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AOL sells some Excite shares

America Online has sold about 6 percent of the 3.3 million shares it received from Excite through the sale of its search engine.

America Online (AOL) has sold about 6 percent of the 3.3 million shares it received from Excite (XCIT) through the sale of its search engine, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We knew they would be selling a small portion of their shares at some time for internal reasons," said Robert Hood, Excite chief financial officer.

Hood noted that the shares sold represent less than a 1.5 percent stake in the company. AOL, which also holds 325,000 warrants that are exercisable after the Year 2000, holds a 17 percent fully diluted stake in the company from the sale to Excite of its WebCrawler search engine.

AOL sold slightly more than 245,000 shares between September 26 and September 30, at prices ranging from $27.39 to $29.94 per share.

Meanwhile, in a separate transaction, AOL exercised at $8 a share 229,000 warrants that came due September 30. With the exercising of these warrants, AOL's stake recouped some of the ground it lost with the sale of the shares, Hood said.

"AOL has no plans or intent to sell any further shares," Hood said. "And if did, they would not dribble them out. We would try to find another partner for a block trade, or the next best thing would be to do a second offering."

AOL officials were not available for comment.