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Online video companies GoFish, Bolt merge

Online video companies GoFish, Bolt merge

The combined company plans to develop made-for-the-Internet programming aimed at people from 18 to 34 years old, a prime demographic for advertisers. Online video site GoFish Corp. on Monday said it has agreed to buy rival Bolt Media, the same day the latter company was reportedly nearing a multi-million-dollar deal to settle a copyright-infringement suit filed by Universal Music Group. GoFish said the stock-for-stock transaction was valued at up to $30 million. The combined company plans to develop made-for-the-Internet programming aimed at people from 18 to 34 years old, a prime demographic for advertisers. The transaction, which is subject to approval by Bolt shareholders, is expected to close in March or April. "Bolt is one of the Internet's great youth brands and a perfect fit for GoFish," Michael Downing, co-founder and chief executive of San Francisco-based GoFish, said. The deal was announced the same day The New York Times reported that Bolt planned to finish negotiating a deal this week with Universal Music Group, which sued the New York-based company in November for copyright infringement caused by users uploading Universal content to the site. The settlement is valued at several millions dollars, and includes Bolt agreeing to pay royalties each time its users post Universal content on the site. Bolt, according to the Times, agreed to sell itself to GoFish to pay for the settlement. Besides Bolt, Universal, a unit of Vivendi SA, has filed a similar suit against popular online community MySpace, which is owned by News Corp. The suit, filed in November, is pending. On Monday, MySpace said it was experimenting with filtering technology that would scan videos for unique digital fingerprints and compare them with those stored in a computer. Unauthorized video on the site that matched the fingerprints would be blocked. Universal was among the companies testing the technology. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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