EUROPATWEB SIGNS DEAL TO TEST MERCURY SITES

PARIS — Europatweb, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief executive Bernard Arnault’s Internet development vehicle, said Monday it has inked an agreement with Mercury Interactive to oversee and test the group’s wide array of Web sites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Mercury Interactive monitors and tests Web applications, including the proper functioning of e-commerce platforms. “In our business, it is key to be able to verify and ameliorate the performance of a Web site,” noted Jean-David Chamboredon, technical director of Europatweb, in a statement. “It is also important to automate test efforts when one must update a site multiple times per year. Mercury Interactive’s leadership led us to sign this agreement.”
Arnault created Europatweb in July 1999 with $500 million for investments, and later expanded the group’s concept to comprise a vehicle that operates Internet businesses, as well as investing in them, such as the e-tailer eLuxury.com, a joint venture between Europatweb and LVMH.
Last November, French utilities giant Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux took a 30 percent stake in Europatweb, whose broad-ranging portfolio includes players from Liquidation.com to Metamarkets.com, along with eLuxury.
Europatweb has been busy during the first quarter, selling three of its new technology Web sites in February to French media group Vivendi Universal for about $50 million, for example. And in January, the Internet development group, along with U.K.-based retailer Kingfisher, sold their stakes in Liberty Surf, the free Internet service provider they founded jointly in 1999, to telecom Tiscali for more than $600 million in cash and stock.