Internet good, portal business bad: NBC became the latest media company in
recent months to deliver that message to investors Monday, when it said it was
essentially abandoning its money-losing Internet-portal business for a more
targeted approach to the Web.
In the process, NBC said it was buying the 61.4 percent of portal NBCi it
doesn't already own for $2.19 per share, or roughly $85 million. When NBCi went
public about a year-and-a-half ago, the stock opened at $88 per share, peaking
at $100.17 Jan. 27, 2000.
Parts of NBCi will be folded into NBC, namely NBC.com, which will be overseen by NBC West Coast
head Scott Sassa. The remaining parts will be sold off or shut down.
Executives said NBCi's 300-person work force -- already down from its peak of
800 -- will be reduced 'dramatically.'
They blamed the soft ad economy for the portal's demise. Dot-com advertising
is practically nonexistent, and traditional advertisers never bought ads in
significant numbers, executives said.