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B2B Internet ETF's Unique Characteristics

As the name of BHH suggests, this fund was a product of the dot-com craze, and it originally consisted of 20 companies offering business-to-business products and services via the Internet. So it shouldn't be surprising that many of the original BHH components have either been acquired or filed for bankruptcy (if anything it should be surprising that two of the original 20 are still standing, an impressive long-term success ratio for early 2000s-era Internet start-ups).

Shortly after BHH began trading, components began to drop out as they either became acquisition targets or folded.

  • March 2000: SBC Communications acquires Sterling Commerce
  • April 2000: Kana Communications acquires Silknet Software
  • June 2000: Peregrine Systems acquires Harbinger
  • September 2000: Healtheon/Web MD acquires CareInsite
  • August 2001: Ventro merged with NexPrise
  • July 2002Scient filed for bankruptcy and was bought by SBI Group
  • .
  • January 2003: The assets of bankrupt PurchasePro.com were sold for $2.5 million after a series of accounting scandals doomed the Internet start-up.
  • April 2003: Kinko's reached a deal to acquire ImageX.com
  • January 2004: Ariba announces its plans to purchase FreeMarkets for nearly $500 million
  • July 2004: Trinity Ventures completed its go-private transaction of SciQuest
  • September 2004: Inovis agreed to purchase QRS for about $116 million.
  • December 2004: 39 patents owned by bankrupt software company Commerce One were sold off in an auction
  • March 2005: Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) announced that it had purchased Retek after SAP (SAP) dropped out of the bidding.
  • December 2005: Pegasus Solutions was acquired by an equity group led by Prides Capital Partners
  • May 2007: Oracle acquires Agile Software
  • July 2007: iCrossing acquires Web development firm Proxicom
  • December 2007: Fiserv (FISV) acquires CheckFree
  • January 2008: BravoSolution completes the acquisition of VerticalNet, a vendor of supply management software solutions.

So that's how BHH got to where it is today, essentially an alternative way to buy Ariba stock with a side of ICGE. It's somewhat surprising that there are still about 9 million shares of BHH outstanding, and that the average daily trading volume exceeds 25,000 shares. If one of the two remaining components gets snatched up or goes under, it will certainly be interesting to see how BHH reacts.

At the time of writing, Johnston had no positions in the securities mentioned.

Michael Johnston is the senior analyst and founder of ETF Database, a Web-based investment resource providing actionable ETF investment ideas and an ETF Screener for investors analyzing potential ETF investments. Johnston oversees ETF Database's free ETF Newsletter, one of the most popular sources for news and commentary focusing exclusively on the exchange-traded fund industry. Johnston also maintains and develops content for ETFdb Pro, a line of analyst reports and model portfolios designed to help investors utilize ETFs to meet their investment goals.

Johnston has completed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program, and obtained his bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to founding ETF Database, Michael worked in a private client service group performing valuations of companies operating in a wide range of industries.

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