California Web firm bids for drkoop.com


Wednesday, July 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Embattled drkoop.com Inc. is again the target of an unexpected acquisition proposal – this time from a California Web company.

In a news release Tuesday, Undertherapy.com of Beverly Hills, Calif., said that it has offered drkoop.com "the opportunity to extend its global health-care network to health-care service providers ..."

Shares of drkoop.com rose 47 cents on the news to close at $1.94, a gain of 32 percent.

Undertherapy.com is privately held.

Founded in June 1999, Undertherapy.com provides medical information for health-care service providers.

Drkoop.com offers health and medical advice over the Internet.

Officials at Austin-based drkoop.com did not immediately return calls for comment.

William Miller, executive vice president of Undertherapy.com, declined to provide financial details of the proposal, but said that Undertherapy.com's offer was "substantive."

"It's very substantial," Mr. Miller said. "It's incumbent upon them to give our offer a fair look."

He acknowledged that the bid was unsolicited but said that Undertherapy.com had been in negotiations with drkoop.com for several months.

Mr. Miller said that drkoop.com needs to abandon its plan to generate revenue through advertising.

"We know that we have the best offer on the table," he said.

"We're ready to fill their coffers with cash, revamp their business and get this baby off life support."

Mr. Miller added that Undertherapy.com plans to move drkoop.com's corporate offices to New York should the acquisition go through.

Undertherapy.com said its own Web site should be operational some time in the third quarter.

On Friday, Virginia-based MillenniumHealth Communications Inc. said it had forwarded a merger proposal to drkoop.com.

While drkoop.com said it was reviewing the proposal, the company also said that it had not authorized the announcement nor was it "party to any agreement with MillenniumHealth."

Drkoop.com, co-founded by former United States Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, has been in financial difficulty since March, when investors warned that the Internet-based health-care information company would soon run out of money.

The company is also the target of several investor class-action lawsuits.