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News > Technology
Disney to stop GO.com
January 29, 2001: 5:54 p.m. ET

Company to convert GO.com shares to Disney common stock, lay off 400
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Walt Disney said Monday it will close its money-losing Internet operation GO.com, a move which will result in about 400 layoffs, and fold shares of its Internet tracking stock back into Disney shares.

Disney said it will convert all shares of GO.com (DIG: Research, Estimates), now officially known as the Walt Disney Internet Group, to Disney common stock, effective March 20, and focus on its content sites and their commercial aspects. It will also close its GO.com portal.

Disney will take charge of $790 million, or 37 cents per share, in the second quarter as a result of the closing and issue about 8.1 million new shares. The company will also take an additional $25 million-to-$50 million charge related to severance and other costs.

"The competitive factors that initially compelled us to establish a separately traded class of common stock tied to our Internet operations have fundamentally changed," said Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Disney President and COO Robert A. Iger told CNNfn's The New Show Disney erred in launching a portal that was essentially a work in progress. (398K WAV or 398K AIFF)

"We underestimated the advantage of in effect being a first mover in (the portal) space," Iger said.

"This is a difficult decision, as it impacts both our employees and GO.com users," said Steve Bornstein, Walt Disney Internet Group chairman, in a statement. "However, the Internet environment has continued to shift and change, and therefore our strategies must also change."

graphicUntil a few weeks ago, Eisner had said he intended to stand behind the Internet investments even while others were shrinking their operations.

The Burbank, Calif.-based company said a streamlined version of GO.com will operate for "a period of time" to allow for transition of its users and will also operate the Infoseek search engine during this period.

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GO.com was created when Disney acquired Web portal Infoseek in 1999. In August the company reported a second-quarter operating loss before amortization costs of $83.2 million, or 34 cents a share, beating Wall Street expectations.

Disney will exchange 0.19353 share of its stock for each share of GO.com. Based on Friday's close, that values GO.com at about $5.77 per share.

Shares of Disney rose 21 cents to $30.02 in afternoon trading, while GO.com dropped 19 cents to $5.75.

Earlier this month, News Corp. (NWS: Research, Estimates), The New York Times Co. (NYT: Research, Estimates), and AOL Time Warner (AOL: Research, Estimates), the parent of CNNfn.com, axed hundreds of online jobs as they seek ways to trim the costs of their online operations. graphic





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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.