Ridiculous as it may seem to you and I, Lycos Inc of the US and the Bertelsmann-Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) venture that was Lycos Europe had not been a joined-up entity since 1997. Lycos Europe had paid its bigger namesake to lease the trademark – an arrangement it renewed in 2007 for a hefty $5.2 million.
After Lycos Europe’s AGM on May 31 (probably its last as it liquidates itself after failing to find a buyer), we already reported the company would sell back those trademarks – for Lycos, Tripod, Angelfire and Hotbot – to the US mothership. Lycos Inc today re-announced the sale and said it will now operate in Europe under its own steam: “Over the next several weeks, Lycos will be re-launching the provision of search services within the European territory.”
CEO Jungwook Lim comments in the release now hint at the nonsense of the 12-year-long split personality: “(It) sometimes caus(ed) confusion in the marketplace. For a variety of reasons, it made sense at this time to consolidate Lycos’ collective assets and branding, especially in Europe, which is an important part of the global market.” What those reasons were, well, we’ve forgotten, but Lycos had been a master at the divided trademark, once owning Wired Digital, but not the magazine, before selling it back to Conde Nast.