When @Home said it would buy Excite in January, investors applauded the notion of combining @Home's cable-TV Internet access service with Excite's portal. But Thomas Jermoluk, chief executive of Excite@Home, is already rejiggering the combined companies.

On Nov. 22, Excite-@Home said it would create a tracking stock for Excite's content business. This should ease concerns among major shareholders, particularly AT&T, about Jermoluk's push into content, which complicates Excite@Home's dealmaking with other content providers such as America Online. Also, Excite can use the new stock to acquire content providers, as its independent rivals do. "It is a structure to allow us do our thing on the content side of the business without impacting our partners," says Jermoluk. But this may not be the last permutation. Excite could be spun off entirely. Or, more likely, the units might recombine if Excite-@Home's cable backers cut their equity stakes in the company.

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