AMERICA ONLINE is to fork-out a cool $4.2 billion in an all-stock deal to acquire Netscape Communications, after negotiations cloaked in security until rumours surfaced in late November. AOL is the world’s largest Internet service provider with 14 million subscribers [500,000 in the UK], while Netscape’s Navigator browser software almost single-handedly popularised the World Wide Web before Billionaire Bill finally woke up to the fact that it wasn’t some form of arachnophobic horror movie.