NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is in negotiations to acquire the outstanding stock of Web portal Infoseek Corp. it does not already own, paving the way for the entertainment giant to spin off all its Internet properties.
Dow component Disney (DIS) acquired a 43-percent stake in Infoseek (SEEK) last June. Under terms of that deal, Disney cannot acquire a controlling stake in the Internet firm until 2001 without approval from Infoseek's shareholders.
Infoseek has about 62 million shares outstanding.
The two companies jointly run the GO.com Web portal and GO Network of Internet sites.
Disney said it is considering acquiring Infoseek in exchange for a class of Disney stock that would track the combined Internet properties of the two companies.
Reports surfaced earlier this year Disney was considering spinning off all Internet assets such as Infoseek, ABC.com and ESPN.com.
News of the negotiations comes as media and entertainment companies are trying to determine how best to exploit the Internet.
Separately Monday, Disney announced its other plans to beef up its Internet position, by taking a "significant stake" in the new Internet "incubator," eCompanies, which will nurture new Internet businesses.
The new company was formed by Jake Winebaum, the former chairman of Disney's Buena Vista Internet Group, and Sky Dayton, the founder of the Internet service provider EarthLink Network (ELNK).
Disney did not specify the size of the stake in eCompanies it had taken or the type of young businesses it would work to foster.
Disney shares rose 1/4 Monday to close at 30-7/8. Infoseek shares rose 6-5/16 to 43.
-- from staff and wire reports