Stock Watch: Japanese Expansion Boosts VerticalNet

Shares of VerticalNet (Nasdaq: VERT), which operates business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce communities for a variety of industries, gained 23-13/16 to 163-1/2 after the company announced that it is working with Softbank Commerce Corp. to launch B2B vertical communities in Japan.

Investors have been making big bets on VerticalNet, which has seen its stock soar from an all-time low of 17-3/8 last year. They obviously have to be pleased with Tuesday’s news. The alliance with Softbank Commerce looks like it is pretty significant. Softbank Commerce is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Softbank Corp., the Japanese Internet powerhouse that has stakes in companies like Yahoo!, E*Trade and Webvan. Softbank is known for betting on winners, so the new joint venture is definitely one to watch.

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