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Excite OKs cable deadline; shuts overseas offices

Tue, 06/05/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

ExciteAtHome extended an exclusivity deadline with Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications; has shut down its media operations in Germany, France and Spain; and has appointed a new COO.

The company said yesterday it's in talks with Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. to "explore a restructuring of its commercial relationships with these companies."

Under the terms of an agreement among the trio, both Comcast and Cox have the right to give six months' notice of any intent to terminate their exclusivity obligations or their relationships with ExciteAtHome every June 4 or Dec. 4. Excite says it agreed to extend the June deadline to the 18th.

Both cable companies last month decided not to relinquish their shares in Excite to AT&T, and instead took common shares in AT&T.

Under that agreement, AT&T would give 75 million shares to Cox and 80 million shares to Comcast. Cox and Comcast had agreed a year ago to sell their shares in ExciteAtHome to AT&T for $48 a share. At that time, ExciteAtHome traded at more than $34 a share. The two decided to keep their shares in ExciteAtHome, however.

Excite also announced that its "ongoing strategic review of its media assets" prompted it to close media operations in France, Germany and Spain in July, and focus its European media business on Excite UK and Italia. The company cited poor Internet ad sales.

Finally, Excite says it appointed Matt Jones as COO, a newly created position. Jones will oversee such operations as media, consumer broadband and commercial divisions, plus such functions as marketing, corporate communications and customer service.

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