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NEW YORK CITY-Insignia Financial Group has announced the completion of its merger of EdificeRex.com, an Internet portal that provides building-specific and user-specific functionality, news and information for New York apartment building residents, into New York Metro. Insignia is the largest shareholder in EdificeRex with an equity interest of approximately 50%. New York Metro is a joint venture between PRIMEDIA Inc. and MetroChannels, a network of Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. As a result of the transaction, EdificeRex.com, Inc. has received an undisclosed minority equity interest in the New York Metro joint venture.

“When EdificeRex.com introduced the residential Internet portal nearly 18 months ago, we envisioned building a Web-based service that leveraged our expertise in real estate services that would be a value-added business when combined with a world-class multimedia company. New York Metro is such a company,” says Andrew L. Farkas, chairman and chief executive officer of Insignia Financial Group.

Not all of Insignia’s head honchos have been so enthusiastic. Speaking at a Real Estate Lenders Association breakfast in May, Insignia/ESG chairman and CEO Stephen Siegel jokingly described how the dot-com bombs of the past several months have affected him financially. He also described how many companies had one of these sites that didn’t fare well–”even us, with EdificeRex.” Insignia Financial Group’s strategy, however, does seem to be working.

In December of 2000, Insignia successfully began implementation of its strategy with the merger of EdificeRex’s Internet portal for office buildings, RexOffice.com, with SiteStuff Inc., an Austin, TX-based e-procurement company. The remaining business and third phase of Insignia’s Internet strategy is EdificeRex.com’s RexSpeed Inc., which provides high-speed wireless Internet access service for residential properties. While EdificeRex.com has the financial resources to fund the on-going operations of RexSpeed, the company continues to explore options to ensure RexSpeed achieves its full marketplace potential by continuing to grow the business while seeking a merger partner or acquirer.

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