Excite UK shuts after failing to find buyer

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Excite UK, the internet site in which BT has a 42 per cent stake, is to shut after failing to find a buyer or partner.

The business, which will officially close at midday on Friday, is said to have held talks with several "compatible businesses" and investors over the last 30 days. A deal, however, could not be reached.

All of Excite UK's 48 workers, based at offices in London's Charlotte Street, will receive redundancy settlements.

"Both parties were looking for new investment but they've drawn blanks. They haven't been able to do a refinancing and while the business remains viable, it will be closed," one source said.

Its collapse is the latest in a long line of dot.com failures, hit by tough economic conditions and a weak advertising market.

Rebecca Miskin, managing director of Excite UK, said: "The decision to cease trading is both unavoidable and deeply regrettable. Our priority now is to our users and our employees and to ensure that the closure is managed in an orderly fashion."

Last month, the business, which is majority-owned by the bankrupt US firm Excite At Home, warned that closure was a possibility if a new investor failed to materialise. BT is understood to have invested some £6m in the venture.