posted two stories about
treatment of its pending IPO on its Web site. The
first story raised questions about whether the information posted on the site violated securities laws, and the second (republished below) noted that the company had altered the site after the first story was posted. Later Wednesday,
reached a priceline.com spokesman.
The spokesman said the timing of the Web site's changes -- made hours after the initial
story appeared -- was just a coincidence. "We explained yesterday," he says, that the IPO information would "come down" as the IPO date grew near. Asked why the company had chosen to change the wording of its IPO information rather than take it down, the spokesman abruptly ended the interview. The spokesman called back later to say that company lawyers have nothing to add beyond commenting that this was a planned change.
On Tuesday, the same priceline.com spokesman had defended the information appearing on the site at that time.
The story below was published at 11:46 a.m. Wednesday.
-- Suzanne Galante
pulled information about its public offering from its Web site after a
reported that two lawyers suggested the IPO posting could represent a possible violation of securities laws.
The article, published this morning in
, focused on the issue of whether it was appropriate for priceline.com to provide detailed information on its Web site explaining how customers could buy shares in its forthcoming initial public offering of stock.
Since the story was written, priceline.com's Web site has undergone several changes to de-emphasize the possibly offending material. A box on the home page that read, "Interested in learning about our IPO? E*Trade can tell you how. Click here," has been removed. A title line on another page has been changed to "IPO Information" from "Buy Priceline.com Shares at E*Trade." And instead of a letter from priceline.com's chairman and founder, Jay Walker, explaining how priceline.com customers can buy shares in the IPO through an affinity program, the company is posting a paragraph directing people to its underwriters to get a copy of its prospectus.
Representatives of priceline.com did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
-- George Mannes