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Excite@Home Files Bankruptcy Papers

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Excite@Home Corp., the leading provider of high-speed Internet access over cable television lines, said Friday that it will sell its broadband business to AT&T; Corp. for $307 million in cash and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Under the agreement, the once-highflying company’s network would become a part of AT&T;, which already has a controlling interest in Excite@Home. The deal is subject to a bankruptcy judge’s approval.

The bankruptcy papers, filed late Friday in San Francisco, will not result in any service disruptions to Excite@Home’s 3.7 million subscribers, the companies said.

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The directors of AT&T; and Excite@Home approved the asset-purchase agreement. The deal, however, could be canceled if higher and better offers are received.

In a statement, AT&T; said it plans to build on the assets it acquires to develop a more robust network. AT&T; spokeswoman Eileen Connolly declined to comment on how the deal might relate to any possible sale of its broadband unit.

Excite@Home’s bankruptcy filing is the latest development in the spectacular rise and fall of the Redwood City, Calif.-based company.

At the height of the Internet boom in 1999, At Home Corp. merged with the portal Excite Inc. in a $6.7-billion deal. Executives at the time believed the company would someday rival America Online. But the bubble burst and advertising revenue dwindled.

After losing $7.4 billion in fiscal 2000, At Home, which does business as Excite@Home, said in April it needed to raise $75 million to $80 million to make it through 2001. The company restructured its fiber-optic network lease deal with AT&T; and sold $100 million in notes.

Shares of At Home rose 2 cents on Friday to close at 15 cents on Nasdaq. It traded around $100 in April 1999. Shares of AT&T; closed up 60 cents to $19.30 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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AT&T; became the controlling shareholder of Excite@Home with its purchase of the cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. in 1999.

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