B2B, Pennies Lead M&A

The deals of the day belonged to a budding B2B player and a handful of penny stock hopefuls. But short-term traders looked too busy counting capital gains ahead of mid-April’s unwelcome deadline to take notice.


Infrastructure software provider Peregrine Systems (PRGN) led Wednesday’s deals with its announced acquisition of e-commerce marketplace enabler, Harbinger Corp. (HRBC) valued at $2.1 billion. Peregrine has been on a fast track into the wide-open world of e-business, and with this latest acquisition, it gains a toehold in the field of online B2B exchanges.


Harbinger’s claim to fame is its harbinger.net e-commerce center, which hosts its customers’ online marketplaces, enabling them to trade worldwide sans the costly expense of setting up and managing their own B2B flea market. With this merger, Peregrine offers a one-stop end-to-end solution for businesses looking to deploy their B2B initiatives.


Arm-in-arm, the two companies will boast more than 44,000 customers, nearly doubling Peregrine’s current business flow. The honeymoon will go a long way in leveling the playing field for Peregrine, whose own growth has been rough going amidst the recent explosive growth of companies like Ariba (ARBA).


In a stock-for-stock swap, Peregrine will issue approximately 36 million shares, or 0.75 shares for each outstanding share of Harbinger. Shares of Peregrine climbed to $58, up 1 25/32, by Wednesday’s close, before getting kicked to the curb in after-hours trade, off 10 percent. Harbinger, on the other hand, was the life of the party in after-hours, rocketing ahead nearly 40 percent.


















DealTracker scorecard: Peregrine Systems/Harbinger

Investor
sentiment
B
Terms of the
deal
C
Industry
outlook
A-
Overall
scorecard
B


Penny Partner Picking


Nasdaq companies weren’t the only ones looking to tie the knot Wednesday, with a handful of penny stocks also in hot pursuit of ideal partners. MerchantOnline (MRTO), a day-trader’s favorite that provides real-time credit card processing services to cyber-merchants, announced its acquisition of privately-held, NewCash.com.


MerchantOnline.com will pony up roughly $25 million in stock and cash, while merging NewCash.com’s Internet ATM card into its current e-pay services. To catch a glimpse of the new system, be sure to swing by MerchantOnline.com’s cubbyhole at this week’s Sp

ring Internet World 2000 trade show in Los Angeles.


Retail investors were buzzing over the deal, but shares of MerchantOnline.com remained unchanged on anemic volume, finishing at $16, still well shy of its recent 52-week high of $26 per share.


















DealTracker scorecard: MerchantOnline.com/NewCash.com

Investor
sentiment
B-
Terms of the
deal
C+
Industry
outlook
B-
Overall
scorecard
B-


A Rose by Any Other Name


In other news, Infrastructure Technologies (ITTX) boarded the B2B bandwagon Wednesday with its acquisition of business-to-business incubator @VentureWorks, not to be confused with CMGI’s polished VC arm. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the newly merged company will adopt @VentureWorks as its moniker and will kick off trading under the symbol AVWX. The acquiring company has been wallowing in the bargain bin for some time, most recently sagging to a paltry 40″ per share and boasting a market cap just shy of a million bucks.


Don’t expect any miracle turn-arounds out of this struggling upstart. Unless of course you turn its two-year chart upside down. Shares remained unchanged on the news of the deal.


















DealTracker scorecard: Infrastructure Technologies/@VentureWorks

Investor
sentiment
D
Terms of the
deal
n/a
Industry
outlook
D
Overall
scorecard
D


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