AltaVista Gets Healthy With $65 Million Deal

Destination site AltaVista announced today that it has entered into a $65 million (US$) strategic alliance with healthcare content and e-commerce provider HealthCentral.com. Under the terms of the three-year deal, HealthCentral.com will be the exclusive healthcare content provider for the upcoming AltaVista Health Channel, subject to certain conditions the companies did not disclose.

AltaVista’s Health Channel will be part of an overall facelift that is expected to be completed later this fall. The company hopes to compete more directly with other diversified portals, such as Yahoo! and GO.com.

“The Internet is turning the health industry on its head by empowering consumers to actively participate in the search for knowledge on health, medical decisions and preventive care,” said Rod Schrock, president and CEO of AltaVista. Schrock added that HealthCentral.com is just “one of several new relationships that will serve as content anchors for the upcoming new AltaVista.”

Edell’s Content Will Be Featured on AltaVista

HealthCentral.com was co-founded by Dean Edell, a physician and medical broadcaster who has a radio show that is carried by 300 stations and a television program that is broadcast in more than 50 markets. HealthCentral.com will offer AltaVista’s users content from Edell, along with health risk assessment tools and topic centers for health and medical issues.

AltaVista’s Health Channel will be interactive, featuring an “Ask the Doctor” section where users can send their health-related queries directly to Edell. The Health Channel will also include health and wellness news and access to an online multimedia library that spans more than 6,000 health-related topics.

About HealthCentral.com

Based in Emeryville, California, HealthCentral.com provides healthcare content and e-commerce on its network of information services. The site offers a customized newsletter, personalized health information pages and personalized health risk assessments. HealthCentral.com also designs, hosts and maintains private label Web sites.

On Tuesday, HealthCentral.com announced that it had filed for an initial public offering and that it would acquire online drugstore ePills.com. Lehman Brothers and Hambrecht & Quist will be the joint lead managers of HealthCentral.com’s IPO, which, according to the company’s S-1 filing, could raise as much as $86,250,000.

EPills, which will become the online drugstore for the HealthCentral.com network, is one of five health anchor tenants on America Online’s HealthOnline Pharmacy Channel.

About AltaVista

AltaVista, majority owned by CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI), currently carries news, live video, content and shopping information. Compaq Computer Corp. holds the remaining minority stake in the company.

AltaVista ranks among the top five Internet search sites, behind Yahoo!, GO.com, Lycos and Excite, in that order.

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