Yesterday, I wrote my column on the top 10 stocks for the millennium. This
is the final installment.
Healtheon has a solution and, of course, it involves the Net. True, there
are a plethora of online healthcare sites. But so far, Healtheon has the
leadership position especially with the merger with WebMD.
The stock was as high as $126. Now, it is selling for $40.
Healtheon is not shy. Basically, the company wants to be the end-to-end
solution for online healthcare for consumers and physicians.
In a show of validation, News Corp. invested a cool $1 billion in Healtheon.
In the deal, Healtheon will have access to the global media empire of News
Corp, which covers cable, print, and broadcast.
This is a recent IPO and the valuation is quite high ($9.9 billion).
However, the company has a key technology that is driving the B2B industry.
Basically, FreeMarkets develops so-called dynamic pricing platforms. That
is, buyers and sellers can bid on complex product offerings (which is the
case with the B2B space). The result has been large cost savings. Happy
customers include Pepsico, Owens Corning and General Motors.
In the IPO, the company raised $173 million, which should be helpful in
growing its business. In fact, it was Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that
took the company public, indicating that they see tremendous potential.
Actually, in 1998 the company showed profits.
The company has the first mover in the industry and has aggressively signed
key distribution deals. Partners include: IBM, 3M, Office Depot,
Microsoft, Quicken, Lotus, ZDNet, and AOL. In fact, the AOL deal is
exclusive and also invested in Stamps.com.
The company has also been making smart acquisitions. A recent one was for
iShip.com, which helps customers comparison-shop for UPS, FedEX and other
In other words, Stamps.com is intends on being more than just stamps. It is
positioning itself as the hub for delivery.
Priceline.com (PCLN): Early on, Priceline.com understood the importance of
developing business models that can be patented. After all, the Net is
intensively competitive. As recent court rulings have shown, Net patents do
A key patent for Priceline.com is Patent 5,794,207. In fact, the company is
currently suing Microsoft over the patent.
The patent covers the so-called ‘name your price’ model. It has become a
very popular method of transactions on the Web. Interestingly enough, the
model can scale horizontally – which Priceline.com has been doing
aggressively. For example, Priceline.com has applied the model to
groceries, long-distance calls, car buying, etc. Expect many more deals.