RealTime IT News

No Myprice, Mate

Perhaps not surprising, given the business difficulties faced by Priceline.com in the United States, an Australian-based company created earlier this year to introduce the name-your-own price e-commerce platform to Australia and New Zealand has decided to back off big time.

Myprice Pty. Ltd. said it "will not proceed with its planned entry into the Australian and New Zealand markets." Priceline said it will take an unspecified charge resulting from its investment in the venture.

Myprice has spent close to US$8.1 million preparing for the launch, according to published reports. It began offering telecommunications services in September and was preparing to start sales of travel services in January, Priceline.com said.

Equity investors in Myprice include SFN Investments, affiliates of Soros Private Equity Partners and Telstra. As part of the Myprice formation agreement, priceline.com purchased a convertible note. As a result of that, Priceline.com said it expects to recognize an unspecified charge in the fourth quarter related to its investment in Myprice.

In September, Myprice launched its name-your-price platform for telecommunication services, enabling customers to buy telephone minutes. Myprice said it will contact customers over the next week and provide credits for the cost of any unused minutes.

Priceline, which has never made a profit, has seen its stock price tank and has slashed its work force and refocused its business. Priceline's troubles began early in the fall when its advertising was called into question and consumer complaints resulted in a state investigation. The company later bailed out of the grocery business as its stock began to go into free fall.