FEMMEONLINE TO BOW

Byline: Katherine Weisman

PARIS — Next week, France will get its first search engine for women, FemmeOnline, and distribution group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute is getting a piece of the action.
PPR Interactive, the Internet arm of Francois Pinault’s retail giant, PPR, is taking a 39 percent stake in FemmeOnline, a women’s directory and search engine scheduled to go live March 28. Financial terms of the investment were undisclosed.
FemmeOnline aims to connect women to some 12,000 referenced Web sites and will offer themed sections and services oriented toward women.
“We are not, and don’t want to be, a general search engine,” said a spokeswoman for FemmeOnline.
The founder and manager of FemmeOnline is Thierry Bartin, an ad executive with his own agency called Sigmund here, who through his clients has developed a sense of marketing toward women, explained the spokeswoman.
The purchase of a minority stake in FemmeOnline by PPR Interactive signals that the company will expand its Internet operations both externally via acquisition and internally, said a PPR Interactive spokeswoman.
During the last quarter of 1999, PPR Interactive launched Mageos.com, a generalist portal and free Internet access provider as well as Petitsetgrands.com, a theme site devoted to the interest of parents and family life.

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