A $10 billion deal appeared imminent between Internet portal Lycos and Terra Networks, a spinoff of Spanish communications giant Telefonica, which would create one of the world's top four online companies. Madrid-based Terra has almost 2 million Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking subscribers in Europe and Latin America but has struggled to make inroads with the estimated 35 million Spanish speakers in the US. An alliance with Lycos, based in Waltham, Mass., could change that. Amid talk of a deal, Terra posted first-quarter losses of $63.8 million and said it won't turn a profit until 2003 - characteristic of many Internet companies.
In a move described as self-defense, two of the largest online auction houses in Europe announced they'll merge to avoid falling behind US competitor eBay. QXL.com and Germany's ricardo.de will be known as QXL ricardo Plc. and will have 1.3 million registered users and a multilingual range of Web sites across the Continent. EBay, which already has British- and German-based sites, is known to be planning new start-ups in France, Italy, and the Scandinavian countries. It reported European sales of $86.9 million in the January-March quarter.
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