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CMGI Hopes to Score With Naming Rights

August 24, 2000|(Joseph Menn)

CMGI Inc. (CMGI), poster boy turned whipping boy for the "new economy," got its best stock bump Wednesday in more than a month by turning to bricks, mortar--and concrete and grass.

The Andover, Mass., holding company for and investor in dozens of Internet companies, from Altavista to Yesmail.com, said it will get naming rights to the New England Patriots National Football League team's new stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

CMGI will pay $7.6 million a year for 15 years for the rights to what will be called CMGI Field when it opens in 2002. The last five years' fees will be subject to adjustment for inflation.

Investors apparently thought the price was a bargain: They bid up CMGI's battered shares by $6.19, or 16%, to $43.94 on Nasdaq. That added $2 billion to the company's market value, which has fallen by two-thirds this year. CMGI Chief Executive David Wetherell said CMGI is the least well-known of the big Internet firms, although revenues at its holdings are growing faster than those of any other top 10 Internet firm.

"We're reaching nearly two-thirds of the world's Internet population," Wetherell said. "The vast majority have no idea who CMGI is."

In addition to a new marketing campaign for the parent company, CMGI is trying to rekindle investor interest by reformulating the way it reports results in the future. It reported a loss of $1.53 a share in its most recent quarter.

CMGI's deal follows tech company names for PSINet Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens football team, and Royal Philips' Philips Arena in Atlanta.

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