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Merger with EarthLink a "Mistake," Says Embarrassed ISP

ATLANTA, GA ( — Internet access provider MindSpring has filed in a Georgia Superior Court for an annulment of its recently completed multi-billion dollar merger with EarthLink, saying its hasty union was a "stupid mistake" done only to "gain some national attention."

It's Darva All Over Again

"It all really sounded so great at first," said MindSpring founder Charles Brewer. "I mean, who wouldn't want to merge with a multi-billion dollar company?" But that attitude changed quickly once the two were united, he added.

According to court papers, EarthLink initially promised to keep a respectful distance from MindSpring, giving the firms time to "get to know" each other as more than just business objects. However, MindSpring claimed, soon after the Pasadena, Cal., company moved in with Atlanta-based MindSpring, the promises were broken.

"We never really consummated," insisted Brewer. "Not that they didn't try. Boom, day one and their hands were all over us, reaching deep into every department. They even wanted to manipulate our assets. It was disgusting."

Compared to the courtship stage, Brewer added, EarthLink "was like a completely different company" once the merger was official and the firms began to integrate their networks. "It was just 'WAN, LAN, thank you ma'am,'" recalled Brewer. "We felt cheap."

In its response to the court, however, EarthLink CEO Garry Betty accused Atlanta-based MindSpring of constructive corporate abandonment.

"That's just so like a sweet-talking Southern company, isn't it?" Betty wrote. "When they're after you, they're all doe-eyes and 'Ooo, your subscriber base is so massive, let's integrate.' But once they've got your name on that merger license, they act like synergy is a sin."

Brewer, meanwhile, said he's just glad the company found out about the "real" EarthLink before the two had any little subsidiaries together.


BURLINGTON, MASS. ( — Internet firms RoweCom Inc. and NewsEdge Corp. last week cancelled their planned $227 million merger after RoweCom confessed its initial "giddy crush" on NewsEdge had faded.

"We just realized we couldn't spend a lifetime in front of the mirror brushing our teeth with these guys," said RoweCom CEO Richard Rowe, who added that at an executive retreat last weekend, he also discovered NewsEdge tends to leave the seat up.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CAL. ( — Just a week after announcing their union, online security firm VeriSign and domain name registrar Network Solutions are reportedly in merger counseling.

According to close friends, Network Solutions caught VeriSign having "some sort of business affair" with, an attractive young competitor of Network Solutions.

"No no no, look, we were just meeting with them to tell them we couldn't work together, to tell them goodbye," explained VeriSign CEO Stratton Sclavos. "Really, they mean nothing to us."

"Honestly, how dumb do they think we are?" replied a sardonic Jim Rutt, Network Solutions' chairman. 'Oh sure, 'Let's have a drink so I can explain why I don't want you?' Get real."


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