Bell Globemedia buys it all back

Bell Globemedia Inc. has bought out the remaining 29 per cent of shares that were held by partner Lycos Inc., virtually ending its Sympatico-Lycos partnership.

The companies had formed an agreement two years ago to run the Sympatico Lycos Web site.

Lycos, a subsidiary of Spain-based Terra Lycos, became the casualty of what Bell has called “a series of new agreements.” Lycos will continue to provide some services until the end of the year, and possibly into early 2003.

Speculation was rampant that the joint venture was working much like a couple whose only course for happiness was permanent separation.

“In terms of consolidation we found it appropriate that we buy out the remaining 29 per cent interest so that we now own 100 per cent of Sympatico,” said Tom Curzon, group vice-president of corporate communications at Bell Globemedia.

As for Internet traffic, Curzon said customers “wouldn’t see much difference” in the service Sympatico provides and Canadian-owned properties wouldn’t change either.

While the parties will continue to provide one another certain commercial services on a non-exclusive basis, it is unlikely that their partnership will extend past the new year, he added.

“This is an important step toward consolidating all of our media properties,” said Lib Gibson, president and CEO of Bell Globemedia in a statement.