Disney to stop Go.com

The Walt Disney Co. Monday announced that it will discontinue its Go.com portal as part of its new Internet strategy, which will also convert stock for The Walt Disney Internet Group into common stock for the parent company.

“The Internet continues to be a central focus of our company’s business strategy,” said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO. Other sites that are part of the Walt Disney Internet Group include Family.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, Soccernet.com, ABC.com, ABCnews.com, Mr. Showbiz, Movies.com and Wall of Sound. These sites will continue to operate.

In the statement, the company said 400 Go.com employees, mostly based in Sunnyvale, Calif., would be “affected,” but it didn’t say whether they would be laid off. The statement also said a “streamlined version of Go.com” will continue to run for an undetermined period of time so users can find content and e-mail services elsewhere. Go.com will also operate the Infoseek search engine as long as the portal is still active.

Disney bought the Infoseek engine in November 1999 and as a result formed the separate business, Go.com, which was later named the Walt Disney Internet Group.

Some of Go.com’s content and services will be found on other Disney-owned sites, according to the statement. E-mail users, for example, can continue service at ABC.com. Disney is evaluating various alternatives for the Go.com assets, including the sale of the Infoseek search engine and site traffic.

The Walt Disney Internet Group will continue to operate under its current management structure as a business segment of The Walt Disney Co. As a result of the conversion of the Disney Internet Group common stock to Disney common stock, The Walt Disney Co. would no longer report separate financial statements for the Disney Internet Group.

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