September 8, 1997
I'm pleased to be able to share some exciting news about a major business transaction which we believe will help us serve you better and also bring the benefits of interactive services to a global audience faster.
This morning, we announced the acquisition of CompuServe's worldwide online services. Simultaneously, we announced that we are selling our network services division, ANS Communications, and entering into a long-term agreement with the acquirer, WorldCom, to provide you with expanded network capacity.
With these transactions, we now will be able to devote even more focus and resources to our core interactive services and content businesses. Importantly, it will mean a significant increase in AOLnet modem capacity, which will mean fewer busy signals for you. We said we would make improving connectivity our top priority, and this deal is another example of us delivering on that promise. Moreover, the deal with WorldCom better positions us to bring you additional connectivity solutions--permitting higher speed access--in the future.
Once the deal closes, which will take a few months, we'll continue to operate AOL and CompuServe as separate services. That means, for example, that CompuServe customers will continue to access their system on the CompuServe network. There may be some synergies that make sense--for example, we will look at the possibility of making some of CompuServe's business and professional content available to AOL members, and making some of AOL's unique technologies available to CompuServe customers--but we'll be in a "walk before we run" mode to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
The acquisition of CompuServe also helps expand our international reach, providing you with an ever larger, more diverse and global community with which to communicate. With the addition of CompuServe?s over 850,000 customers to AOL Europe?s nearly 700,000 members, AOL, in partnership with Bertelsmann, will become the leading pan-European Internet online service provider with more than 1.5 million members less than two years after we launched.
The past year marked the transformation of Internet online services into a mass market medium. For millions around the world--whether they used it to communicate with friends and business colleagues, find information, shop, keep up with the news and latest sports scores, or just have some fun--our interactive medium has become a vital and fulfilling part of their daily lives. AOL has played a central role in making this happen. But we haven't been alone. CompuServe has been an industry pioneer for nearly two decades, and we're pleased to be bringing their expertise together with ours. Working together, we're confident we can meet your needs even more effectively than ever.