PlanetRx finds no cure, will liquidate assets

By Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld |  Business

Struggling online drugstore PlanetRx.com Inc.'s board of directors has approved a plan to liquidate all the company's assets, including its Memphis distribution center.

A spokeswoman for PlanetRx said the company was shutting down entirely.

"After months of deliberations and evaluations, PlanetRx.com's board of directors has concluded that a plan of liquidation presents the best option to preserve remaining shareholder value," Chairman and CEO Michael Beindorff said in a statement. "Therefore, it is in the best interest of our shareholders to develop a plan for the disposition of PlanetRx.com's assets in an orderly and efficient manner."

In recent weeks, PlanetRx put several domain names up for sale under the GreatDomains.com Web site. In January, PlanetRx.com was delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. because the price of its stock dropped below $1. The company didn't fight the delisting.

Yesterday's announcement comes just about a month after Memphis-based PlanetRx said it was closing its retail store and referring consumers to former rival Drugstore.com Inc. in Bellevue, Wash. The company said it would focus on selling specialty drugs for cancer and HIV patients, and organ-transplant recipients.

At that time, PlanetRx also said it was planning to acquire a specialty pharmacy business, whose name it was to release in February.

The company had hoped it could stay afloat by moving into an area with bigger margins and where there is no dominant player.

But Liz Boehm, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., said PlanetRx officials apparently decided that plan wouldn't work.

"They took a hard look and decided with their assets they wouldn't be bringing anything new, unique, or unusual into that new business," she said.

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