Major expansion of , the international food industry's leading business knowledge portal, is planned following a management buyout by the site operator -

The strongest online business knowledge source for the industry - from baking to meat and poultry and confectionary, was launched in May, 1999. It features the industry's most authoritative research sources, including Leatherhead Food RA, IFIS, Food Industry News, Ingrid, the National Dairy Council, Reuters Business Insight and Mintel.

Commenting on the MBO, John Young, Information Director of Leatherhead Food RA, said, "As a primary supporter of, Leatherhead Food RA is delighted to be associated with the ambitious plans outlined in the just-sites press release following the buyout from GEAC Computer Corporation.

As a world leading provider of food information, Leatherhead Food RA is excited about its on-going partnership with to develop the world's leading food information portal."

The major portion of the proceeds will be used to develop and promote's four current portals, which are already established as market leaders in the online information market - which is forecast to grow to $40 billion worldwide by 2004 - generating substantial hit levels and significant revenue.

According to CEO Allan Davies, has a well-established knowledge supply chain and intelligent use of the Internet provides a more efficient and lower cost marketing and distribution channel for the business. "Our business model is based on lower costs and better service for both suppliers and customers. Unlike many other businesses, we have taken a hard-headed, traditional business approach to all our ventures.

"Our costs are proportionate to a sound business plan - and our current revenue - and as a result we predict monthly profitability within 18 months. The buyout provides us with the resources to build just-sites into a leading global brand and increase substantially the substance and value of our content."

Key elements of's expansion will be an extension of the range of information services, widening of partnerships with other information providers, marketing alliances with major brands and personalisation of knowledge delivery to sharpen differentiation.

To deliver its growth plans the company expects to double its staff within the year and it will also be making a major investment in expanding its network of expert correspondents and individual industry information providers.

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