Stock Watch: Go2Net Buy Sinks InfoSpace

InfoSpace Inc. (Nasdaq: INSP) plunged 13 1/4 Thursday to 34 1/2 after the company, which provides e-commerce and other services to Internet companies, announced plans to acquire Go2Net Inc. (Nasdaq: GNET) in a stock swap.

The companies said the merger will create an infrastructure services company to deliver end-to-end integrated platforms for rapidly converging media platforms — such as computers, televisions and wireless devices like handheld devices.

Go2Net, which operates Web sites with a merchant base of 1.1 million, will help InfoSpace “take merchants through the entire life cycle of a commerce transaction,” from building an Internet presence through payment processing, InfoSpace said. Go2Net also offers interactive games and other entertainment services.

InfoSpace said it will issue 1.82 of its shares for each share of Go2Net. Both companies’ boards have approved the transaction, which still needs to be approved by shareholders. Vulcan Ventures and others representing about 40 percent of Go2Net’s outstanding shares have agreed to vote in favor of the deal, the companies said. Holders of about 40 percent of InfoSpace’s shares have also given their approval to the transaction.

The agreement was announced after the close of trading Wednesday. Go2Net ended Thursday at 60 7/16, down 1/8.

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