Italian portal strikes deal with Beenz.com

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ROME--Kataweb is the first Italian portal to form a joint venture with New York-based online currency company Beenz.com.

Surfers can collect units of Beenz currency by visiting a site and usethem to make online purchases at participating sites anywhere in the world.

The joint venture gives Beenz.com access to customers on Kataweb's 50 Web sites, which include the site for the national daily newspaper La Repubblica, the Italian Web page for CNN.com and several smaller magazines, radio stations and regional Italian newspapers. Kataweb is owned by Gruppo Espresso, which also owns La Repubblica. Billionaire financier Carlo de Benedetti controls the company.

A statement from Kataweb said the company hoped the use of the currency from Beenz.com would help it attract more traffic.

Founded a year ago, Beenz.com has nearly one million account holders.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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