Ticketmaster Online to Form Ticket Giant

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E-tailing ticket firm Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch Inc. yesterday announced its intent to buy Ticketmaster Corp. from cable TV company USA Networks Inc.

The deal creates a company that will specialize in entertainment tickets, local information and consumer services.

USA stands to receive 52 million shares of Ticketmaster Online Class B in exchange for its wholly owned Ticketmaster Corp.

The new Ticketmaster would boast a customer database list 20 million names long, including more than 12 million active ticket buyers. The venture would boast the ability to process 80 million tickets annually through 3,430 ticketing outlets and 16 call centers in more than 80 cities.

"Once separated at birth in order to grow the online business, now properly rejoined with one word -- ticketing. Online, offline, wireline or no wireline, it's now one comprehensive idea for development throughout the world," said Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive at USA Networks. Diller would become co-chairman of Ticketmaster with Terry Barnes, current Ticketmaster Corp. chairman/CEO.

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