Microsoft, Telmex to acquire Yupi.com

Microsoft and Mexican telecommunication behemoth Teléfonos de México SA de CV (Telmex) announced plans Thursday to expand the Microsoft Network's (MSN) Internet offerings to the U.S. Hispanic market, by acquiring Yupi.com.

Microsoft and Telmex, which are already partners in Mexican Web portal T1MSN.com, announced in a teleconference the buyout of struggling Spanish-language Internet portal Yupi.com for an undisclosed amount of money. With the purchase of Miami Beach, Florida-based Yupi.com, Microsoft and Telmex would be prepared to take on America Online Inc. (AOL) and Spain's Terra Lycos SA in the battle over the lucrative U.S. Hispanic market.

T1MSN will launch Yupi/MSN, a Spanish-language portal for Latin America, with the acquisition. T1MSN already serves México, while Yupi/MSN will target Spanish-speaking consumers in the U.S. and the rest of Spanish-speaking Latin America, said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's vice president for MSN and the Personal Services Business Group.

"The U.S. Hispanic market is becoming more of a force," he said, describing plans to offer cross-media advertising in both Spanish and English. Expanding its presence in Latin America will allow MSN to offer cross-border advertising as well, he said.

Microsoft would not say if some of the 57 employees at Yupi would lose their jobs in the merger. The merger also bought out Sony Entertainment Inc.'s financial stake in Yupi, said Oscar Coen, Yupi Internet Inc. president and chief executive officer Yupi currently has country-specific sections of its portal for Argentina, Colombia, the U.S. and Spain.

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