VerticalNet Says It Has No Interest in Ventro - TheStreet

On a day when the rumors about

J.P. Morgan

(JPM) - Get Report

being acquired were

all but confirmed, another talked about deal was dismissed by one of the main purported participants.

VerticalNet

( VERT), the Horsham, Pa.-based company that runs Internet communities for industry professionals, said Tuesday evening that it's not in talks to buy

Ventro

(VNTR) - Get Report

, which runs online exchanges in the life-sciences and health industries.

The announcement came after days of speculation about a deal, which pushed up Ventro's stock and of course pushed down VerticalNet's. (

TSC

wrote about the speculation last week.)

VerticalNet "is not, and has not been, in any discussions with Ventro Corporation regarding a possible merger or other business combination," the company said in a statement. It also said it would continue to maintain its "a policy of not commenting on rumors of any kind," which seemed a bit contradictory given the subject of its release.

The company said it was making the statement because "in recent days there have been media reports and repeated requests to the company for information as to whether such discussions were taking place."

The rumors were fueled in part by the fact that Ventro canceled a planned day for analysts and a presentation at the

Robertson Stephens Internet Conference

, both which

raised questions about whether the company was up to something.

In addition, there was a Sept. 8 tongue-in-cheek article about possible B2B mergers penned by columnist Adam Feuerstein on

Upside.com

.

"While we're on the subject of merger rumors, let's end with a whopper and chat about Ventro," Feuerstein wrote. "Hell, why not make a prediction (or a suggestion): Ventro is going to merge with VerticalNet."

On Tuesday, VerticalNet slipped 31 cents, or less than 1%, to $46.56, while Ventro rose 63 cents, or 3.8%, to $16.75.