Snap, the Internet portal co-owned by NBC and CNET, and
XOOM.com, a premier e-commerce company, have bought minority equity stakes in
BuyItNow.com, a "Web Plaza" of Internet shopping sites.
Snap and XOOM.com -- which are in the process of being
rolled into a new NBC spinoff called NBC Internet, or NBCi -- will get 3.6 percent and 1.8
percent, respectively, of BuyItNow.com.
In exchange, BuyItNow.com will be guaranteed favorable
placement in two Snap e-commerce areas, "Gift Shop" and "Home Shop,"
valued at $10 million. XOOM.com will also feature BuyItNow.com in marketing and promotion
valued at $5 million.
BuyItNow.com is now 48.7 percent-owned by e-commerce
company e4L Inc., with BuyItNow Inc. at 41.4 percent, and media and outdoor-ad company
Clear Channel Communications Inc. at 4.5 percent.
"This agreement with BuyItNow.com will surely
strengthen select areas of our shopping services, connecting users to more of what they
are looking to purchase online," Snap chief operating officer Edmond Sanctis said in
a prepared statement.
This marks the "Peacock Network's" continuing
foray into home shopping. It recently took a 20 percent stake in ValueVision International
Inc., a cable home shopping service that competes with the likes of Home Shopping Network
The NBCi deal is set to close this fall. Tom Rogers,
president of NBC Cable and one of the top architects of NBC's interactive strategy, could
not be reached for comment.
The network is currently in the "quiet period"
leading up to the closing of the NBCi arrangement. The creation of NBCi was spurred by the
network's desire to have a pure Internet play that makes it easier to do Internet
This strategy contrasts with that of Barry Diller, who
recently ran into trouble trying to buy Internet stock with traditional media stock during
his failed attempt to add Internet portal Lycos Inc. to his USA Networks Inc. stable.