News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, and Sara Steindorf

In a stock swap valued at $1.36 billion, Metromedia Fiber Network Inc., which deals in optical networking, said it would buy SiteSmith Inc., a leading provider of management services involving Internet infrastructure. Metromedia, of White Plains, N.Y., is expanding in 51 US cities and is planning to build fiber-optic networks in 16 European cities, the Financial Times reported. SiteSmith is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Announcement was expected as soon as today that the largest electric utility in Europe, Italy's Enel SpA, will pay $9.6 billion to plunge deeper into the telecommunications industry. Reports said Enel's directors were set to finalize the purchase of Infostrada, the No. 2 phone company in Italy, from British giant Vodafone AirTouch. The deal also calls for the assumption of about $1 billion in debt. Enel already owns majority interest in Wind Telecommunications, a money-losing land-line provider, which it may be planning to merge with Infostrada, the reports said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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