Chello Broadband to Merge with Excite@Home’s International Operations
Excite@Home's international operations announced today it was merging with Chello Broadband, a major broadband provider in Europe. The new company will be equally owned and jointly controlled by Excite@Home and the United Group.
Excite@Home's merger with Chello Broadband, a subsidiary of UPC, is slated to create a new company called "Excite Chello". The new company plans to have extensive market penetration. They will have access to broadband consumers through Chello's existing customer base, and access to narrow-band consumers through Excite's portal.
Excite Chello plans to promote Excite@Home's set top platform technologies to Chello Broadband's current customer base. The new company hopes that the move will set them up as the leading service provider with an established global set-top box strategy and distribution platform.
Excite Chello has acquired funding from Liberty Media to the tune of 200 million Euros in the form of a note convertible into Excite Chello shares. In addition, Excite@Home and United Global Com have agreed to invest 100 million Euros each in the new company.
The merger is expected to close by year end pending regulatory approval, consent of certain international partners, and a close of financing.
In another international deal, Excite@Home's Japanese unit said yesterday it entered into a strategic partnership with Centerseat, a digital media company.@Home Japan (http://www.jp.home.com) and Centerseat (http://www.centerseat.com) announced that Centerseat's technology platform will become the preferred interactive video and commerce platform for @Home Japan. According to the company, Centerseat's platform presents video with contextually related interactive rich media information and e-commerce opportunities.
@Home Japan is currently utilized by 5.1 million homes in Japan.
In Excite@Home's first quarter statement of 2000, the company clearly stated that they planned aggressive investments in the international market place. These two announcements are one sign that they are moving in that direction.