Shareholders of Go2Net, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNET), a network of technology and community-driven Web Sites, voted Thursday to accept Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s purchase of preferred shares for $133 million (US$), complimenting Allen’s purchase in March of $167 million in stock.
In addition, shareholders also approved the sale of $126 million in company director’s common stock to Vulcan Ventures, Allen’s investment company, bringing his ownership interest in Go2Net to $426 million, a 34 percent stake. The investment firm paid $90 per share for the stock.
Shareholders also approved an amendment to the company’s structure that increases the authorized shares of stock from 50 million to 500 million, which it says will facilitate the use of common stock for growth and acquisitions and accommodate the company’s 2-1 stock dividend payment later this month.
“We’re gratified that Go2Net’s shareholders have endorsed our relationship with Paul Allen and Vulcan Ventures,” said Go2Net CEO, Russell Horowitz. “With this strategic relationship and one of the largest cash reserves in the Internet, Go2Net is now extremely well-positioned to aggressively build the Go2Net brand, accelerate out growth and acquisition strategies and improve our existing properties and infrastructure.”
Allen’s investment calls for Go2Net to provide its portal services to his affiliated cable company subscribers, part of the nation’s fourth-largest cable network.
A Go To Guy
The hefty investment is obviously an affirmation that Allen believes in the long-term viability of Go2Net.
Rated in the Top 25 most-trafficked Web sites on the Internet by Media Metrix, Go2Net’s network of sites consists of Go2Net Personal, a hosting site with news, discussion and financial advice, StockSite, Silicon Investor, the popular search engine, MetaCrawler, Haggle Online, a person-to-person auction site, PlaySite, WebMarket, a Web shopping tool site and others.
The wide-ranging interests of Go2Net’s network apparently appeals to Allen, who was in the right place at the right time when he got together with a man named Bill Gates in 1975 and formed a fledgling software company named Microsoft.
The more reclusive of the two, Allen was the head of Microsoft’s new product development until 1983, when he went on to build a number of ventures. His primary companies are Asymetrix Learning Systems, Vulcan Ventures and Vulcan Northwest. Allen has stakes in Marcus Cable, Charter Communications and DreamWorks SKG, the glamorous Hollywood film studio.
Allen also likes hoops, as evidenced by his ownership of the Portland Trail Blazers, who had high hopes this year but were knocked out of the playoffs early on.