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IQ News: Bits

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CDnow, Jenkintown, Pa., and N2K, New York, leaders in the online music store world, have confirmed published reports that they are in discussions about a possible merger. A statement from both companies contends, "there can be no assurance that an agreement between the companies will be reached."
Razorfish Studios, the entertainment arm of Razorfish, New York, will distribute the artist Ticklah's debut album, Polydemic, in the high-quality audio format MP3 via the Web. Customers will be able to download all nine tracks of Polydemic in CD-like quality.
Bertelsmann AG, Munich, which plans to launch its BooksOnline site this fall, has bought a 50 percent stake of the barnesandnoble.com Web site for $200 million. Both companies are contributing $100 million to further bolster the barnesandnoble.com site, and Bertelsmann will shift some resources from BooksOnline to barnesandnoble.com. Barnesandnoble.com's initial public offering will be postponed due to the deal.
Excite, Redwood City, Calif, has opened a Detroit office. The office will focus on serving American auto manufacturers and other Fortune 500 company advertisers in Detroit, facilitating their advertising campaigns, sponsorships and promotional programs.
CBS SportsLine, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has expanded its partnership with America Online, Dulles, Va., to become the premier sports news and commerce partner on some of the company's online properties: AOL U.S., CompuServe's Sports Channel, AOL International, local content offering Digital City and AOL.COM. The three-year, $23 million agreement also includes extensive on-air promotion for AOL on the CBS television network. CBS SportsLine currently is an anchor tenant on AOL's Sports Channel.
Penton Media, Chicago, has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Mecklermedia, Westport, Conn., which runs technology trade shows, publishes Internet World and owns the Internet.com network of 20 Web sites, for approximately $274 million. The companies expect the tender offer will close in November. Mecklermedia's fall Internet World trade show ran last week in New York.
Homestead Technologies, New York, will provide co-branded versions of its free Web site and community building tools to discussion network Deja News, Austin, Tx., and CollegeBeat, Hudson, Mass.