AOL to buy MaqQuest.com for $1.1 billion

America Online yesterday said it plans to acquire MapQuest.com, a provider of online mapping and navigation services, in an all-stock transaction valued at about $US1.1 billion.

AOL will combine MapQuest's capabilities with services such as its Digital City content network and MovieFone movie ticketing service, opening new advertising and e-commerce opportunities by allowing users to access maps and directions for entertainment, dining and shopping, AOL officials said in a statement.

AOL will also work to accelerate the distribution of MapQuest's services to non-PC devices, including smart phones, Palm Pilots and other connected handheld computers, officials said.

By threading MapQuest throughout AOL services, the company will be able to provide mapping and directions and real-time traffic updates to its millions of customers, Bob Pittman, AOL's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

AOL's brands include the AOL online service, which has more than 20 million members, CompuServe, with about 2.2 million members, the Netcenter portal and the ICQ instant messaging service.

MapQuest.com provides mapping services to almost 1,000 Web sites and is linked to by more than 170,000 sites, making it the most used service of its kind, according to AOL. MapQuest.com also has a strong international presence, with coverage of 78 countries in five languages, AOL officials said.

Shareholders of MapQuest.com will receive 0.31558 shares of AOL common stock for each share of MapQuest stock. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2000, subject to various conditions including customary regulatory approvals and the approval of MapQuest.com shareholders.

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