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Introduction

For a man who prides himself on his negotiating skills, losing an $18 billion deal must hurt. Yet if Bob Davis is still smarting over the collapse, in early 1999, of the merger between Lycos, the internet company he heads, and the USA Networks home shopping business, he hides it well.

The deal would have brought together the internet's second biggest media portal and America's largest television home shopping audience. Such a marriage between new and old media worlds was the stuff of every convergent theorist's dreams, bringing e-commerce to the unconverted and giving on-line shoppers the delivery systems and secure payment facilities they yearn for. And for Davis, the merger, in which Lycos was to be subsumed by Barry Diller's USA Networks, would have been the culmination of a flurry of deals that had helped propel Lycos from the fifth most visited internet site to second in little more than a year.


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