Ends year-long search to unload arm of Infoseek

Internet search technology provider Inktomi Corp. said Thursday it plans to acquire Ultraseek Corp. from Disney Web arm Go.com in a deal valued at $344.7 million in stock.

Disney has been looking to unload Ultraseek, a company that makes customizable Internet search software for individual Web sites, since acquiring the property after its takeover of search engine Infoseek last year.

Deal includes $3.5 million in cash and shares of Inktomi common stock valued at $341.2 million. Nearly $317 million of the stock will go to Go.com, which as stock won’t help the company make too big of dent in its accumulating debt. During the second quarter alone, Go lost $292 million.

Ultraseek will operate under the Inktomi name with all of the company’s staffers expected to be retained by Inktomi.

As Disney is focusing its efforts on becoming a major portal for entertainment and leisure, owning Ultraseek as a subsid simply didn’t fit into the Mouse House’s business plan.

Foster City, Calif.-based Inktomi said it plans to now use Ultraseek to boost its search technology offerings.

“The divestiture of the Ultraseek enterprise business highlights Go.com’s commitment to focus on and enhance its position as a leading provider of consumer entertainment, information and services on the Internet, and fully leverage the creative strength of the Walt Disney Company,” said Go chairman Steve Bornstein. “While Ultraseek’s enterprise software is not closely linked to our consumer-oriented business, it is a valuable asset and a strong fit with Inktomi’s business.”

Deal is expected to close in September, subject to customary closing conditions.

Go.com serves as Disney’s Internet business, managing portal Go and sites for ABC, ABCNews, Disney and ESPN.

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