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Zapata buys game Web site

Continuing its Net buying spree, Zapata says Zap, its Internet subsidiary, moved to acquire game information Web site Attitude Network.

    Continuing its seemingly endless Internet buying spree, Zapata announced today that Zap, its Internet subsidiary, moved to acquire game information Web site Attitude Network.

    Terms for the deal were not disclosed.

    Internet gaming destination Attitude Network is made up of six entertainment sites, including Happy Puppy and Games Domain.

    Only a few months ago, Zapata, a marine protein and food packaging company, announced that it was splitting itself into two companies, with the newly formed Zap concentrating on Internet ventures. Zapata remains active in the food industry.

    In May, Zapata tried to acquire Excite, an online search engine. Excite soundly rejected the $72-per-share unsolicited bid.

    Since the failed attempt at acquiring Excite, Zapata has announced its intent to acquire or invest in 30 other Internet sites and e-commerce businesses in an effort to expand Zap, its Internet portal. These acquisitions include Web communities CoolChat and Bianca Troll Productions. With its grab at Attitude Network, the 31th site, Zapata estimates Zap will be among the largest Internet sites based on the number of users if all 31 deals are consummated.

    "Attitude Network has the dominant sites in electronic games--one of the most popular uses of the Web," said Avram Glazer, president and CEO of Zapata in a statement announcing the acquisition. "It is a leader in acquiring and developing successful brands launched on the Web."

    Glazer added that Attitude Network's management team, led by founder and CEO David Rae, will be part of the Zap's core management team.

    "The roll-up strategy means that Zap will own proven sites, a key distinction from other portals," said Rae. "Most important, from a business perspective, it means Zap will own all revenue streams, from advertising to e-commerce, and new pricing models that will emerge."

    Last week, Zapata reported a 14-fold rise in its net income during the third quarter.

    During a conference call following the release of its earnings, Glazer said Zapata planned to announce the retention of an investment bank to help the company separate Zap from Zapata. The methods being considered for the separation were a spin-off, an IPO, or tracking stocks. The separation may also involve a combination of these methods but will most likely be completed by the end of this calendar year.

    Shares of Zapata fell nearly 5 percent shortly after the opening bell today on the news of the acquisition. The stock was trading at 16.31, having reached as high as 24.94 and as low as 5.63 during the past 52-weeks.

    Following the earnings report, Riley Capital Research announced that it has reiterated its "strong buy"' rating on shares of Zapata.