business

Grand Tour For America Online

CALL IT EOL. GERMANY'S BERtelsmann, the world's second-largest media group, is plunking down $50 million for 5% of America Online, giving AOL an indicated market value of $1 billion. The idea behind the deal: put Europe online, starting with Germany, France, and Britain, through a 50-50 joint venture using $100 million of Bertelsmann cash. The partners aim to beat Microsoft and other wannabes planning online services in Europe--while facing off against H&R Block's CompuServe, currently the biggest player in Europe. AOL's shares rose 16%, to 821/4, on the news.

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