Magazine article American Banker

Potential AOL-Netscape Link Seen Affecting Banks

Magazine article American Banker

Potential AOL-Netscape Link Seen Affecting Banks

Article excerpt

By CAROL POWER America Online Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Netscape Communications Corp. would likely rev up the relationships between those companies and various financial institutions, experts in the interactive services field said.

The deal, which both sides said is being discussed but which had not been consummated Monday, is expected to combine the two Internet gateway businesses. There would likely be a separate agreement with Sun Microsystems Inc. relating to Netscape's electronic commerce software business.

The melding of AOL and Netscape could create a "constant and large stream of traffic," said Bill Burnham, senior research analyst in Credit Suisse First Boston's San Francisco office.

For an institution like Citigroup, which has signed on to be the main provider of financial services on Netscape's Netcenter portal, the combination would "surely increase the number of eyeballs," said Nina Das, a spokeswoman for Citigroup. "It'll mean more subscribers and traffic, which will make our branding on the site more beneficial."

Four on-line brokerages-DLJ Direct, E-Trade, Waterhouse Securities, and Ameritrade-that are "premier providers" of trading services on AOL should similarly benefit.

Netscape has six million users registered on its NetCenter Internet gateway; AOL and its Compuserve subsidiary have 16 million subscribers.

AOL.com, the second-most-visited Internet address after Yahoo.com, got 28 million visitors in October, according to Media Metrix Inc., a New York- based research firm. …

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