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Vivid on a global trip

Vivid Travel Network will announce the acquisition of Digital Lantern, an online guide to 3,200 San Francisco Bay Area restaurants.

Vivid Travel Network next week will announce the acquisition of Digital Lantern, a popular online guide to 3,200 San Francisco Bay Area restaurants.

The buyout is part of Vivid Travel's plan to build a global travel, tourism, and entertainment network with content-providing affiliates from around the world. Vivid Travel, a subsidiary of Vivid Studios, will offer the Web-building expertise and development tools while the affiliates provide the local content. Similar deals are in the works with international content providers, including one in Sweden.

The fledgling Virtual Travel Network faces stiff competition from the likes of America Online, Microsoft, and Yahoo, but it is betting that the quality of content, not necessarily size, will be the recipe for success.

The Digital Cities Web site will be reintroduced as part of the Virtual Travel Network site later this year.

"This move will take Digital Cities to the world stage," said Mark Beaulieu, founder of Digital Lantern. "It's a giant step that will make a regional dining resource part of a worldwide travel and entertainment guide."