GUETERSLOH, Germany: Lycos Europe, which was valued at €773 million ($996m; £646m) in 2000 when it was listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, is to close its main portal and website hosting service after failing to find a buyer.

Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica and German media group Bertelsmann each own a 32.1% stake in the company, which posted a 20% decline in revenues for the first nine months of 2008, recording an overall net loss of €17.1m. 

Ceo Christoph Mohn, who has led the organisation since its inception, was hopeful that a US or Asian media firm might have bought the portal as a means of entering the European market.

But the failure to attract a buyer drove down its share price to €0.20 earlier this week, giving Lycos Europe a market capitalisation value of just €62.5m.

As such, a strategic review led by investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort suggested the main portal should close, though the ailing web operator still hopes to sell its domain addresses, its Danish site and shopping portal Decido.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff