Skip to main content


Compaq capers:

One market source, whose distribution contacts at





provided him with excellent insights into the company's biz, says it appears Chairman Ben Rosen has been moving quickly to shake things up in the wake of CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer's departure.

Our source, who trades in and out of Compaq, both long and short, tells of one distributor who "used to complain about the little things that they can't handle. Now, it's 'Let's get it done.' They're dealing with issues aggressively." He adds that the change is noticeable over the past three weeks. "It's the first sign of life." A spokesman will only say that Rosen insisted, when he took over day-to-day operations, that he and his team didn't expect to be caretakers.


This column has, for years, questioned the hype surrounding



, a minimally invasive heart surgery company that, it turned out, was better at promoting itself in the press than getting doctors to use its equipment. (Kudos to Ralph King of the


for a top-notch story, earlier this week, outlining the company's checkered past.)

Any mention here of Heartport often would note how Heartport always commanded a much higher market value than

Cardiothoracic Systems


, another minimally invasive heart surgery company. One big difference between the two is that Heartport's products are for use on a stopped heart, while Cardiothoracic's are for a beating heart. Heartport's execs, whenever they had a chance, would claim beating heart surgeries were simply too dangerous.

Look who's having the last laugh: Doctors have abandoned Heartport en masse (just look at its plummeting sales) while Cardiothoracic's sales have been doubling in recent quarters, every quarter over previous years' quarters. And Cardiothoracic's market value has zoomed past Heartport's ($137.8 million versus $101.3 million).

Cardiothoracic still hasn't earned a dime, but that's because it hasn't yet totally absorbed all of its research and development and marketing costs, says Larry Haimovitch, of

Haimovitch Medical Technology Consultants

. Haimovitch, who is long the stock, adds that he believes the company will be cash-flow positive in the third quarter and profitable in the fourth quarter. CEO Rich Ferrari doesn't dispute Haimovitch's analysis, saying that a break-even or profitable fourth quarter is now Cardiothoracic's internal forecast. "Most analysts think it'll be the first quarter of 2000," he says, "but I think we're ahead of that."

Lernahoulian alert:


(INTC) - Get Free Report

formalized its relationship with

Lernout & Hauspie


in the form of a joint venture that will be controlled by Intel. Intel's investment, as previously reported, is $30 million. (Large by Intel standards for this type of deal.) Based on the 896,000 shares Intel will get, it works out to around $33.48 per share. Yesterday Lernout closed at 39 9/16.

Herb Greenberg writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at Greenberg writes a monthly column for Fortune and provides commentary for CNBC.