Media group to invest $592 mil in Web activities

LONDON — United News & Media has become the latest British media group to announce plans to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into the Internet.

United has unveiled a £370 million ($592 million) investment program into its Web activities, with $432 million earmarked for Europe and the remaining $160 million for its U.S. business CMP.net.

United, one of the three big companies that dominate the U.K.’s ITV network, will group all its European Internet interests into a new media division, including the likes of dotmusic.com and the Internet service provider LineOne.

Chief exec Clive Hollick said he intends to float the new unit within 18 months.

The Web strategy was unveiled as United announced an operating loss of $97.8 million for 1999 — in line with expectations — compared with a profit of $76.8 million in 1998.

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