Homestore Hopes to Kick Year Off Anew

Homestore.com Inc. stock plummeted today as trading
resumed after its top exec quit and the troubled company named a new
chairman, chief executive and chief financial officer, as well as a new COO.

The Nasdaq Stock Market approved a 12:30 p.m. resumption of trading in
HomeStore.com stock, which last traded at $3.60 in December. The price
immediately dropped about 45 percent, to $1.96 a share. It then recovered
some, closing at $2.46.


Homestore Chairman and CEO Stuart Wolff has “resigned to pursue a new
technology venture,” the company said, providing no further explanation.


The beleaguered online real estate operation, which issued a preliminary report last week saying that it overstated its
earnings for the first three quarters of 2001 by as much as $95 million, said
that W. Michael Long is joining the company as chief executive officer.


Long-standing board member Joe F. Hanauer, has been named chairman of the
company’s board of directors. Jack D. Dennison joins as chief operating
officer and Lewis R. Belote III joins as chief financial officer. Hanauer is
a veteran of the real estate industry who has served as a director of
Homestore since November 1996. He is former chairman of Grubb & Ellis Co. and
former chairman of Coldwell Banker Residential Group Inc.


Nasdaq
halted trading
in Homestore stock on Dec. 21, less than a month after its
CFO resigned.


The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company said earlier that an audit
committee investigation of its finances showed that it had accounted for
barter advertising deals as regular ad sales transactions.


In a news release, Homestore said that “before today, the company had placed
three employees on administrative leave in connection with the audit
committee inquiry and the company may take additional disciplinary measures
because of the inquiry.”


The employees placed on leave were members of the finance department and
business development department, Homestore said.


Long, 49, the new CEO, has served as president and chief executive officer of
The Continuum Company Inc.; chief executive officer of Healtheon Corp.; and
chairman of WebMD Inc., after its merger with Healtheon.

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