NEW YORK — CBS is in negotiations to buy an equity stake of an Internet site called the Mining Co., owned by General Internet Inc.
The Mining Co. is a network of 500 Web sites offering expert guidance on more than 12,000 topics. Each Mining Co. site is operated by a company-trained subject specialist.
The New York-based General Internet and its first and, so far, only division, the Mining Co., are privately owned.
Few details of the proposed deal were available. Three sources confirmed that CBS and the Mining Co. are in negotiations, but none could predict when and if the deal would happen.
A CBS spokesman said the company has a policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation and a Mining Co. rep declined comment.
Mining Co. CEO Scott Kurnit, who was previously president of Prodigy and head of Showtime’s pay-per-view division, also declined comment.
CBS, along with the other broadcast networks, has shown an interest in aligning itself with Internet companies. CBS already has a deal with the Mining Co.
In August, CBS SportsLine — CBS’ sports Internet service — cut a deal with the Mining Co. that provided CBS SportsLine with a co-branded area where users can find news and information on sports. The area incorporates a continuously updated scoreboard from CBS SportsLine with daily features and net links by Mining Co.’s guides.
The co-branded area is accessible through both the Mining Co. and CBS SportsLine.
The Mining Co. also has a deal with NBC. In January, NBC and Mining Co. agreed to feature the more than 500 special interest Internet guides on NBC Interactive Neighborhood: Your Hometown Homepage, a locally customized Internet service offered to NBC owned stations and affiliates. At that time, NBC also acquired an undisclosed minority interest in Mining Co.’s parent General Internet Inc.
The Mining Co. also has strategic relationships with companies including AT&T WorldNet, BellSouth, CitiBank, Earthlink, Microsoft, Netcom, PointCast and Softbank.
The Mining Co. Internet guide network launched in April 1997.