RealTime IT News

Billion-Dollar Busts

The list of biggest losers in the Internet ticker market meltdown of recent weeks is dominated, not surprisingly, by emaciated smaller players flirting with penny-stock status.

There's Breakaway Solutions , down 80% in the past month, with a market cap and stock price through Tuesday's trading of $136.5 million and $3.03 per share, respectively; InterWorld , down 79.5%, with a market cap of $104 million and a closing price of $3.56; U.S. Interactive , down 71%, a market cap of $45.4 million and a $1.75 closing price; and LivePerson , down 69%, a market cap of $64.4 million, share price of $2.19.

These companies and many others are attracting no support from investors, as their falling prices and low trading volumes grimly attest.

But what of the larger 'Net companies, the players that draw extensive coverage from analysts and the most headlines during earnings season?

What follows is a list of the 10 largest Internet companies that have lost the most value in the past month. Each was worth at least $1 billion in early September.

                                   Oct. 10  1-Month  Current 
     Ticker       Company           Close   % Loss  Market Cap

 1.  priceline.com     $6.78   -75.3%     $1.1B                                 
 2.  NaviSite         $14.75   -64.5%   $833.7M
 3.  InterTrust        $6.50   -59.7%   $560.2M
 4.  Scient           $12.50   -55.9%   $915.6B
 5.  Internet Capital $13.50   -55.4%     $3.8B
 6.  GoTo.com         $10.25   -54.2%   $535.0M
 7.  divine            $3.13   -53.7%   $429.5M
 8.  RazorFish         $5.47   -53.0%   $519.6M
 9.  Webvan            $1.88   -51.2%   $650.1M
10.  marchFIRST        $9.94   -50.5%     $1.5B

Heading the list is "name your price" e-tailer priceline.com, whose only success in recent weeks has been the new series of entertaining radio and television ads starring William Shatner. Great news if you're a short-seller or a fan of clever kitsch. For priceline.com investors, however, there's not much to smile about.

PCLN has been dropping for some time, but its plunge accelerated when it issued a dire Q3 earnings warning in late September. Also contributing to the bad mojo of late was a special report on CBS TV's "48 Hours" that focused on customer complaints regarding priceline.com service. Meanwhile, Connecticut's attorney general said he is investigating the company.

Finally (at least for now), priceline.com announced last week that its WebHouse Club affiliate, which ran a grocery and gasoline shopping service, was shutting down because it could no longer raise capital.

Application hosting service provider NaviSite, a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, was hammered by investors after reporting on Sept. 19 losses in the fourth quarter of $19.5 million, or 34 cents per share, up from a net loss of $16.4 million, or 29 cents, in Q3.

Digital rights management software provider InterTrust Technologies has plummeted this month after announcing that Q3 revenues would meet previous forecasts of 20% sequential growth over Q2's $1.67 million. Clearly, investors had hoped for more.

Web consultant Scient has been driven down, along with other members of its sector, as investors anticipate rapid consolidation in that market.

Internet Capital Group, the B2B e-commerce venture capital firm, has been in a freefall all year due to heavy losses and the market's growing lack of confidence in the incubator business model. Another victim of this investor trend is divine interVentures, the Chicago incubator that went public in July. DVIN underwent a management shakeup in September and last week said it was canceling plans