August 4, 1999 11:05 PM PDT

Lycos close to buying Sonique

Web portal Lycos is close to acquiring Net music software Sonique, sources said today.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company is planning to buy Sonique, which was created by privately held Mediascience, for $71 million, sources told CNET News.com. A deal could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

Neither Lycos nor Mediascience representatives could be immediately reached for comment.

Music properties such as Sonique--an online audio player that can handle Microsoft Windows Media files, MP3 files, and audio CDs, among other formats--are in demand as consumers are beginning to adopt the Web as a source for music. Lycos is looking to become one of the most "comprehensive" music destinations on the Web, the company has said.

The agreement comes about a month after Yahoo was in talks to buy the technology, but that deal fell through. At that time, Lycos also had expressed an interest in Sonique.

Lycos began its foray into online music in February when it launched MP3 Search, a service that allows users to find audio files in the MP3 format.

Its strategy aims to tie together Web site hosting for artists and fans, online retail, music file downloads, a music search directory, and Web radio. To achieve this, the company will pursue acquisitions and content partnerships to piece together its offering, Ron Sege, Lycos executive vice president, said in a previous interview.

With Sonique, Lycos would add another property under its umbrella of Web sites. During the past year and a half, the company has added home page builders Tripod and Angelfire, Web directory Hotbot from its Wired Digital acquisition, yellow page service WhoWhere, and free Web email provider MailCity.

Leading ISP America Online joined the Internet music party in June, buying Nullsoft and Net radio firm Spinner for about $400 million in stock. Nullsoft's popular Winamp music player is a competitor to Sonique.

 

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