Excite buys McKinley

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Internet search engine Excite will acquire the McKinley Group, creator of the Magellan Online guide, for an estimated $18 million. The deal is expected to be finalized by August.

Excite's stock price increased just 1/8 point, closing at 8 3/8 on Friday, its first day of trading since its acquisition announcement. McKinley Group is privately held.

The merger is said to create the second-largest Internet search engine, behind only Yahoo!. While the merged company will initially carry both the Excite and Magellan brands, the combined search engine is expected to later assume only the Excite name.

"We haven't finalized our brand strategies yet," said Rick Redding, Excite's director of finance. "We'd expect there to be some paring down of staffs between the companies."

Excite has about 80 employees; McKinley has close to 75.

Excite recently tapped Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, for its estimated $5 million account. FCB is still in production stages of its first campaign for the search engine.

Although Excite was the last company to join the search engine fray last October, it made more than $1 million in ad revenue in the first quarter alone.

"We're focusing on consolidation and building networks to increase our ad revenue," said Mr. Redding.

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