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RealTime IT News

E-tailing Woes Continue

Drkoop (KOOP) was in the news again yesterday. There's some good news and a bit of bad news for the online health care portal. The bad news is that the company announced it will miss first quarter revenue expectations and report a net loss worse than anticipated.

The good news is that Koop's share price doesn't have far to fall. Investors took the warning in good spirits, however, sending the company's shares a nickel higher. How's that for a twist?

After Koop's CEO Donald Hackett canned a keynote speech at Internet Healthcare 2000 and went into hiding, the company threw in the towel, announcing that it had hired Bear Stearns to explore "strategic alternatives." That's M&A speak for, turn the lights out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

So now that the company is up for sale, the only plausible suitor looks like America Online (AOL). The ISP already inked a long-term content deal with Koop when times were rolling and money grew on trees. The struggling Doc has since hawked a 10% stake to AOL just to pay its revolving tab.

Now it's only a matter of weeks before the sugar daddy comes to the rescue. Expect a slight premium here; but after this fire sale, the only use for your stock certificates will surely be to line the cat box.

Pets.com (IPET) couldn't hit the side of a barn with Monday's earnings, reporting a jaw-dropping loss of $2.54. That was a buck worse than analysts were looking for, in a market already cool on money losing cash cows. The CFO did his best to explain away the weak numbers in an audio interview, much like a used car salesman, but shares dipped anyway to $2 1/2.

Here's an idea. For their next Super Bowl ad, maybe the company can have the sock puppet standing in the unemployment line.

Speaking of Super Bowl ads, Web-based recruiter HotJobs.com (HOTJ) went long yesterday, after the upstart announced plans to merge with software developer Resumix in a stock swap deal valued at roughly $60 million.

It's been a consolidation game of musical chairs in the online recruiting industry with players scrambling for safety in numbers. The deal looks pretty sweet for Resumix who gets saddled with about 10% of HotJobs.com's outstanding common stock after the dust settles.

Then again, a major shake-out in the industry could leave the e-cruiters wilting on the vine. No matter how you slice it, 10% of nothin', is nothin'. All in all, it's not a shabby deal if it means beefing up HotJobs' buffet of recruiting solutions by adding HR management software to the mix.

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free to forward them to kblack@internet.com.

DealTracker scorecard: HotJobs.com/Resumix

Investor sentiment B-
Terms of the deal C
Industry outlook