Former White House Adviser Shows Interest in Excite@Home


Former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty and associates have expressed serious interest in investing in Excite@Home Corp., people familiar with the situation told Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

No formal offer has been made, and no financial terms were available. But Mr. McLarty and Ranch C. Kimball, an adviser to Mr. McLarty’s consulting firm, Kissinger McLarty Associates, have connections with private equity partners and have notified Excite@Home (ATHM) of their interest in gaining a minority or majority stake, depending on the arrangement, these people say.

Such a deal, if consummated, could help the Internet company, which is controlled by AT&T Corp. (T), escape a severe cash crunch that has raised doubts about its viability. Indeed, just last week the company and its then-auditor, Ernst&Young, disclosed “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

An Excite@Home spokeswoman declined to comment.

Mr. McLarty is traveling. “Given Mack’s background as a CEO and business leader before joining the Clinton administration, it’s fairly natural that these kinds of conversations would draw his interest,” said Richard Klein, a director at Kissinger McLarty Associates, which has offices in Washington and New York.
Kissinger McLarty Associates is an international strategic advisory firm. The firm was formed in 1999 by the merger of two organizations headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Mr. McLarty, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff.

In addition, Mr. McLarty and some business associates that include Mr. Kimball are involved in a separate partnership that advises large corporate clients and a handful of private equity firms.

Through this partnership, Messrs. McLarty and Kimball have spent considerable time with Excite@Home executives since mid-May, when they first approached the Redwood City, Calif., company, according to people close to the matter. Mr. Kimball, who had been with the Boston Consulting Group for 15 years and advises Mr. McLarty’s firm, has taken the lead role in the discussions with Excite@Home, these people said.

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