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Lycos to invest in e-commerce service firm

The Web portal will announce Monday that it has taken a 14 percent stake in ICOMS, a service involved in order management and payment processing for e-commerce companies.

Web portal Lycos will announce Monday that it has taken a 14 percent stake in ICOMS, a service involved in order management and payment processing for e-commerce companies.

With the investment, Lycos will use the Nashua, N.H.-based ICOMS' services to manage its online shopping site LycoShop, the companies said.

"We've [made] an investment in ICOMS because we believe that they have tremendous potential for growth as the need for e-commerce technical services grows dramatically with the Web," Bob Davis, chief executive of Lycos, said in a statement.

ICOMS said it will use the investment to fund potential acquisitions and to grow its operations and marketing efforts, according to Cliff Conneighton, ICOMS' chief executive.

"With the additional funding, we will expand our infrastructure and service capabilities to provide even better opportunities to assist our merchants and strategic partners in their quests for Internet success," Conneighton said.

The Web portal's stake in ICOMS is valued at more than $10 million, according to Conneighton.

Lycos senior vice president Jeff Bennett also will be named to ICOMS' board of directors, the companies said.

For Lycos, the use of ICOMS' services gives its e-commerce efforts more features such as online shopping cart and electronic wallet technology, tax and shipping calculations, electronic coupon capabilities, and buyer and merchant history.

In October, Lycos unveiled LycoShop, which executives touted as its most concerted e-commerce effort to date. The site is comprised of retailer links, consumer reviews by Epinions and a shopping incentive program powered by Netcentives, among other features.

Lycos was originally going to base its e-commerce strategy largely on its previously planned merger with USA Networks. USA was looking to use Lycos as the entry point to its numerous online shopping and event planning services, such as Ticketmaster-Online CitySearch and Home Shopping Network. The planned merger, however, was called off because of the lack of shareholder support.