On February 2, 2000, Bell ActiMedia Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BCE Inc., announced a joint venture with Lycos Inc. which will create a new Internet company, Sympatico-Lycos, to provide Canadians with expanded Internet resources for the business-to-consumer marketplace. The Sympatico-Lycos portal is intended to provide Canadians with a significant new Internet experience that combines world-class Internet technology and applications, including search, community, personalization, e-mail, city guides and a wealth of Canadian content. Sympatico.ca is already a major Canadian brand on the Internet with its web site being accessed by more Canadian and foreign visitors than any other portal in Canada. With more than 100 million pages viewed each month, Sympatico and its other Internet properties generate more than $17.5 million per year of online advertising revenues.
As part of the agreement, BCE Inc. will invest $37 million in the new company, giving it majority ownership. Separately, Bell ActiMedia and Lycos signed a $60 million (US$40 million) multi-year distribution agreement.
Lycos engaged Larissa V. Tkachenko and Alfred L. J. Page of Borden & Elliot as Canadian counsel, and Mary F. Voce and Richard Wallace from Coudert Brothers as US counsel. BCE relied upon internal counsel for the transaction including Tim Mcgee (Chief Legal Officer), Shaul Ezer (Vice President, General Counsel Bell Actimedia), Ruby Barber (Senior Legal Counsel) and Kevin Assaff (Assistant General Counsel) and called in Jack A. Silverson of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP for advice on tax matters.