SAN FRANCISCO --
is working on its impression of country singer
The business-to-business company has canceled its presentation at the
Robertson Stephens Internet Conference
here, which was slated for Thursday morning. That no-show will come on the heels of a nixed day for analysts that was supposed to happen Sept. 13. Jones, by the way, has been known to fail to show up for concerts, thus his nickname, No-Show Jones. (For a conference calendar,
A Ventro spokesman said company officials had a scheduling conflict with the Robbie Stephens conference. And he added that the company postponed its meeting with analysts until the fourth quarter because it didn't want to conflict with the new fair disclosure rules put forth by the
Securities and Exchange Commission
. Those rules prohibit companies from disclosing material information to select people without making it available to the general public.
When asked what would be different during the fourth quarter, the spokesman couldn't comment. He called the fact that Ventro is backing out of two events "coincidental."
But with its
disappointing results last quarter, a canceled analyst meeting and a no show at this prominent technology conference, analysts are starting to worry.
"Listen, being a Wall Street analyst and having been burned a thousand times, in the absence of information, you always assume the negative," said Eric Upin, a B2B analyst at Robertson Stephens. "The real take-away here is that something's up. We don't know what it is, it could be a big deal, they could be getting acquired, they could be having more problems. But we just don't know." (Upin rates Ventro a hold, with a long-term accumulate. His firm has done underwriting for the company.)
The spokesman said he wasn't aware of any material changes at the company.
In trading Wednesday, Ventro was off 75 cents, or 4.2%, at $17.12.
The company's stock is up about 48% since the end of July. Given that rise, Ventro's silence could also be a veil to something positive. But whatever it is, the company's disappearing act has people wondering.