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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT

Business: The Company File

Scoot links up with Vivendi

Scoot's services are accessible via the internet, mobile phones and digital tv

Online yellow pages service Scoot is to link up with Vivendi to extend its service across Europe.

The 50:50 joint venture is expected to spend 200m over the next three years, launching Scoot in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Scoot chief executive Robert Bonnier said the service should cover 80% of the European market in the next three years.

Vivendi is to finance the joint venture's initial funding requirement and it is understood it will take 15 million new ordinary shares in Scoot at 70 pence.

Scoot is to place a 25m bond with Vivendi to finance its initial contribution.

The Scoot service is accessible via mobile phones, the internet and digital television.

The two companies say there are synergies between Vivendi's assets, which include French telecoms company Cegetel and television company Canal Plus.

"We expect the synergies between Cegetel, SFR, Canal Plus and Havas (through Bonjour) to allow for rapid development and value creation for the joint venture," said Frank Boulben, vice president of Internet Business Development.

Scoot began life in February 1993 under the name Timeload.

Since then, requests for names and addresses have jumped to 9 million a month in February this year.

Scoot operates in the UK, the Netherlands, and Belgium through a joint venture with VNU.

In a separate transaction, the new joint venture plans to buy Scoot's equity interest in the Scoot partnership in the Benelux countries.

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