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AOL and Excite Announce New Strategic Partnership

Excite Becomes AOL's Exclusive Internet Search and Directory Service And Acquires WebCrawler; America Online Increases Equity Stake in Excite, Inc.

DULLES, Va. and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- America Online, Inc., (NYSE: AOL) provider of the world's most popular Internet online service and Excite, Inc., (Nasdaq: XCIT) the leading Internet navigation network, announced today their agreement to make Excite the exclusive Internet search and directory service for AOL, combining two of the Internet's most popular names and enhancing the Web experience for AOL's more than 7 million members. Further, Excite will acquire AOL's WebCrawler search and directory service for approximately two million shares of Excite Inc., raising its ownership of Excite to approximately 20 percent from its current 10 percent level.

Under the expanded relationship, AOL members will have access to an AOL- branded, Excite-branded and powered search and directory service as the exclusive Internet search service on AOL. Through the partnership, the companies will also explore ways to better integrate smart search capabilities throughout AOL's content channels.

By acquiring WebCrawler and becoming the exclusive Internet content search and directory service for AOL, Excite's traffic and users will significantly increase. This will enable AOL and Excite to create a uniquely powerful medium for advertisers and merchants and further improve directory services for AOL members and other Excite users. According to a September report from PC-Meter, the independent industry standard for Web measurement, Excite ranks third in the Internet navigation market while WebCrawler, representing much of AOL's traffic to the Web, currently occupies the number two position with a 29.2 percent market reach. The combined unduplicated reach of the new Excite network, including WebCrawler, would be 44.1 percent, significantly higher than Yahoo. PC-Meter is the independent industry standard for Web measurement. Much like the Nielsen "share" ratings for television, PC-Meter obtains information through a panel of 10,000 households.

"Our agreement today, coupled with our earlier investment in PLS which provides the technology behind AOL content searches, will make it easier for our members to find great content from any point on the AOL service," said Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of America Online, Inc. "But as much as combining terrific Internet search and directory services with our existing navigation capabilities, we're creating an attractive venue for advertising built around great content and heavy user traffic."

According to George Bell, President and CEO of Excite, "Today's agreement strengthens Excite's position as the leading Internet navigation network by way of a significant traffic increase and a key long-term distribution

agreement with AOL. This new partnership expands on our strategy to lead consolidation and build traffic, revenue, and new products."

The two executives said they anticipate that the Excite search and directory service on AOL will become a primary venue for advertising and transactions, permitting advertisers to reach a broad audience through a single media buy. All advertising inventory on the AOL search feature powered by Excite will be shared by AOL and Excite and sold by AOL's Interactive Advertising group, which will share revenues with Excite. The additional audience that will accrue to the new search and directory service should result in additional advertising revenues for both companies, and further AOL's goal of developing alternative revenue streams which help diversify its business model.

Under the terms of this new arrangement, AOL has been granted a seat on Excite's board of directors which will be filled by Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of America Online. At the same time, Bob Pittman, who was an independent director on the Excite board prior to joining AOL as President and CEO of AOL Networks, has resigned from the board.

Completion of the purchase of Webcrawler, expected in early 1997, is subject to various closing conditions, including due diligence and standard regulatory approvals. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase by Excite, Inc.

America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), based in Dulles, Virginia, operates the world's most popular Internet online service, with more than 7 million members worldwide. AOL offers its subscribers a wide variety of services including electronic mail, conferencing, software, computing support, interactive magazines and newspapers, and online classes, as well as easy and affordable access to services of the Internet. Founded in 1985, AOL today has a global workforce of more than 5,500 people. Personal computer owners can obtain America Online software at major retailers and bookstores or by calling 800-827-6364.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., Excite ( is the leading Internet navigation network. The company's Internet navigation services include Excite Search, Excite Reviews, Excite City.Net, Excite Live!, Exciteseeing Tours, Excite's Magellan and Regional Editions. The company currently has strategic relationships with America Online Inc., The Tribune Company, CUC Investments Inc., Netscape Inc. and Times Mirror.

SOURCE America Online, Inc.
 -0- 11/25/96

/CONTACT: Media and Analysts, Bill White of Excite, 415-943-2882; Julie McHenry of Wilson McHenry Co. for Excite, 415-638-3400; or Tom Monagan of AOL, 703-265-1381; or Investor Analysts, Kim Mortyn of Excite, 415-943-2877; or Richard Hanlon of AOL, 703-265-1271/


CO: America Online, Inc.; Excite, Inc. ST: Virginia IN: CPR MLM SU:

JA -- DCM004 -- 3497 11/25/96 08:56 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 25, 1996
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