Friday, July 21, 2006

Wired pays Lycos to recover site

Wired magazine, the publication that helped popularize the Internet craze during the 1990s, is poised to recover the online business it lost when the company was divided in half eight years ago.

Lycos Inc. said on Tuesday it had agreed to sell its Wired News online properties for $25 million to Conde Nast Publications, owner of Wired magazine, the print publication that is equal parts technology culture trend-spotter and glossy product catalog.

Lycos acquired Wired News as part of the Wired Digital acquisition which closed in June 1999 for a reported $83 million.

The deal came a year after Advance Publications, owner of Conde Nast, paid $75 million to buy Wired from co-founders Louis Rosetto and Jane Metcalfe and other investors. The sale followed two failed efforts to hold an initial public offering.

The current transaction includes the sale of the domain name and Wired News assets only. Lycos will retain other original Wired online properties including Hotbot, Hotwired and Webmonkey, the company said.

While one of the earliest and most insistent promoters of the notion that digital technology and the Web would transform business, Wired magazine's efforts to live up to its own mantra have been hamstrung by the loss of its online domain.

"We're bursting with ideas and can't wait to put them into practice," Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson said in a statement issued by Lycos.

Upon completion of the deal, the assets of Wired News will be operated as part of Conde Nast Publication's web division, CondeNet.

"Wired News has always been synonymous with Wired magazine, so it made sense for Lycos to transfer Wired News to Conde Nast, the parent company of Wired," Alfred Tolle, chief executive of Lycos, said.

Tolle said the sale of the online news property to Conde Nast provides additional funding to Lycos, once one of the best-known Internet search indexes, which is looking to become a destination for broadband entertainment consumers.