Fueled by deregulation and globalization, the demand for instant on-line access to travel data exploded. In effect, [Rupert Murdoch]'s profitable travel publications were transformed into even more lucrative on-line information networks. Indeed, the travel businesses were so successful that-much to [John Evans]' dismay-Murdoch sold them to Reed International in 1989 for more than $825 million to help pay down News Corp.'s multibillion-dollar debt. "We made a $440-million profit on it," Evans notes. But Murdoch's company wouldn't go completely out of the travel business. In the course of his travels, Evans had come across Etak Inc., a small, venture-funded firm in Menlo Park, Calif., that was building "on-board navigation systems" for cars. In other words, even if you didn't know where you were going, your computerized Etak map built into the dashboard of your car would tell you. Evans was intrigued, drove Murdoch around Los Angeles in an Etak car and News Corp. acquired the company for about $25 million last year.