AC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet company headed by Barry Diller, is
close to an agreement to acquire Ask Jeeves, the nation's
fourth-largest search engine company, for about $1.9 billion,
according to an executive involved in the negotiations.
An announcement could be made as early as Monday.
IAC/InterActive owns a variety of Internet businesses. Its principle
holdings are Expedia, Ticketmaster, Home Shopping Network, Match.com
and CitySearch. Advertising spending on search sites is rapidly
growing and Diller's company appears to be trying to tap into a market
dominated by Google and Yahoo.
Most of Ask Jeeves' revenue comes from advertising that appears on its
sites through a contract with Google. That contract runs through 2007.
Fourth-quarter profits and revenue at Ask Jeeves, whose brands include
Ask.com, Excite.com and iWon.com more than doubled. Net income rose to
$17.5 million, and revenue rose to $86.1 million from $31.8 million a
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