VerticalNet Gains After Scrapping Deal

VerticalNet, Inc. (Nasdaq: VERT) rose 0.406 to 5.343 early Thursday after the company called off its plan to acquire SierraCities.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: BTOB).

SierraCities.com also gained, picking up 0.156 to 1.812 in the first fewminutes of trading.

After the close of trading Wednesday, the companies said they agreed to calloff the deal because of “current market conditions.” Both companies’ shareprices have fallen since November, when the deal was announced.

SierraCities.com said it will look at “strategic alternatives,” includingpossible deals with parties who have “expressed interest” in the possibleacquisition of the company.

“We are still very interested in continuing to explore a relationship withSierraCities.com as we search for strategic alternatives for technologylicensing and development,” said VerticalNet president and chief executiveofficer Mike Hagan.

Likewise, Thomas Depping, president and chief executive officer of SierraCities.com, said his company is looking forward to pursuing a relationship with VerticalNet. However, Depping said, “We also intend to explore our strategic alternatives with others.”

Horsham, Pennsylvania-based VerticalNet agreed in Novemberto acquire SierraCities in a stock swap valuing SierraCities at $7 pershare, or a total of $133 million. At the time, VerticalNet was trading near28, and SierraCities close to 6.

SierraCities.com, headquartered in Houston, Texas, provides technology foronline business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce financing. VerticalNet hadhoped the acquisition would give it the ability to provide users of itsonline marketplaces with financing and credit options.

Last week, VerticalNet lost its chiefexecutivewhen Joseph Galli resigned to become president and CEO of manufacturingcompany Newell Rubbermaid. Galli was replaced by Hagan.

The news sent VerticalNet shares lower, as analystsdowngraded the stock.

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