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Lycos Europe to close
Lycos Europe is going to shut down at the end of 2008. It’s a sad day for me personally, because I was the equity research analyst who worked on the IPO of Lycos at the height of the boom. Lycos Europe listed in Frankfurt in a heavily oversubscribed public offering that valued the company at €773m.
Yesterday, its shares closed at €0.20, giving a market capitalisation of €62.5m.
Lycos Europe, a joint venture between Bertelsmann and Telefonica, struggled to stand out in a crowded portal space. As the online world polarised between search-led sites and niche content, Lycos Europe was left stranded in the middle.
The FT said that Lycos Europe will wind up at the end of the year (depending on a shareholder vote), returning €50 million to shareholders and seeing 700 people out of work.
Lycos Europe was a company born in the boom. It has now died due to a combination of advertising recession and failing to find its niche. I think it is probably good for the online ecosystem for Lycos to go, but I still find it personally sad.