Despite some fireworks before the bell this morning, the Internet sector wasn't sustaining much momentum in early trading. TheStreet.com Internet Sector index was lately up 2.74, or 0.2%, to 1149.30. Earlier today, Network Solutions (NSOL) reported solid earnings and CMGI (CMGI) announced it would buy online auction service uBid (UBID) .
Network Solutions was up 17, or 6.6%, at 273. The domain-name registrar reported fourth-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, stronger than the 23-cent
First Call/Thomson Financial
estimate and more than double the 11-cent gain of the year-ago period. Revenue of $75.9 million came in above most estimates.
Apparently without a bidding war, CMGI acquired uBid in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $407 million. CMGI will issue 0.2628 share for every share of uBid held on the closing date of the transaction, expected in May. CMGI was down 4 3/4, or 4%, at 115 3/4 on the news, while uBid was up 3 1/4, or 12%, at 29 15/16.
In the press release on the transaction, CMGI indicated it would move to accelerate uBid's traffic growth and revenue streams "by maximizing synergies with its existing network properties" and stressed both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business opportunities the deal provided.
"It's a great acquisition," said Ryan Alexander, Internet analyst with
, which has done underwriting for both CMGI and uBid. "It really enables uBid to leverage CMGI's vertical relationships among its network of companies as well as those companies' distribution relationships. In addition, uBid should be able to rapidly scale its B2C and B2B auction platforms."
Alexander said the purchase did not pose a threat to online auction heavyweight
, as uBid is more of a business-to-consumer and business-to-business site compared with eBay, which is predominantly a consumer-to-consumer site, though eBay is expected to become more aggressive in the business-to-business
arena. eBay was down 5 3/8, or 3%, at 158 5/8 early today.
cybervandals apparently have taken a rest, and the stock performance of those companies that were hit the past few days were mixed today.
analysts wrote today that they viewed the attacks as "a nuisance" that didn't pose any security threats.
In the note, PaineWebber reiterated buy ratings on eBay and
and maintained a neutral rating on
Regarding eBay, analyst Sara Farley wrote that the company has "significant opportunities that have not been reflected in the stock price," particularly its
credit-card-processing feature, which she contends "will become much bigger than most investors are currently expecting." But she added that eBay's international expansion may end up costing more than anticipated.
About priceline, Farley wrote that she expected priceline to enter many more new areas that have not yet been announced, including international joint ventures and business-to-business initiatives. Regarding risks, she mentioned the company's patent dispute with
, and competition. priceline was down 1 1/16, or 2%, at 57 3/8 today, while Expedia was down 13/16, or 3%, to 29.
Farley also wrote that Amazon will continue to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of growth in e-commerce. "In addition, we believe that Amazon's extensive fixed assets, which have been accumulated to handle distribution and fulfillment internally, limit the returns on capital that Amazon can reach relative to other Internet companies," she wrote. Amazon was down 1 15/16, or 2%, at 78 5/16.
was down 1 1/4, or 4%, at 26 3/4 despite handily beating earnings estimates. The Web portal reported a loss of 30 cents a share for its fiscal first quarter vs. the 47-cent loss estimate, but the loss widened from the year-ago 12 cents.
After the numbers,
Salomon Smith Barney
analysts indicated that they were "warming" to Go.com's story, but would remain on the sidelines regarding the stock. They indicated Go.com may take more of a "
view of an investment horizon (counted in years) rather than an Internet view (maybe months)."
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