EBaum's World in HandHeld hands

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NEW YORK -- As one digital media deal was announced Thursday, another partnership was terminated.

Digital entertainment company HandHeld Entertainment said that it will acquire online entertainment site eBaum's World, while Internet video site GoFish Corp. terminated its plan, first announced in February, to acquire social networking site Bolt Media because of an ongoing lawsuit with Universal Music Group.

HandHeld will pay $17.5 million in cash and stocks for eBaum's World, a Web site founded in 1998 that specializes in user-generated videos, jokes and games. The owners of the Rochester, N.Y.-based eBaum's could receive as much as $32.5 million in stock and cash from HandHeld during the next three years dependent on the site meeting financial and operational goals.

Ebaum's World, which has relationships with AOL and News Corp. divisions as well as Facebook, generated about $5.2 million in revenue last year and has had more than 2.5 billion page views and video streams in the past 12 months.

The site will join HandHeld's ZVUE network of Web sites, which includes Putfile.com, Holylemon.com and YourDailyMedia.com. With the acquisition, the group expects to see 14 million-19 million visitors each month.

GoFish said it will not acquire Bolt because it believes the teen-focused site "represents too much of a liability" for the company at its present state of growth because of its litigation with UMG. The Vivendi-owned record label filed a copyright-infringement suit against Bolt in October, accusing the site's users of swapping pirated versions of its artists' videos.

The sale to GoFish, which originally was seen as a way for Bolt to raise money to settle the suit, was contingent upon Bolt finalizing a settlement with UMG. In a statement Thursday, however, GoFish said Bolt was "unable to reach definitive settlement within these agreed-upon parameters."
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