Drkoop Gains as Auditors Agree to Stay

Drkoop.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: KOOP) tacked on1/32 to 23/32 Tuesday after the struggling health care Web company saidPricewaterhouseCoopers will stay on as its independent auditor.

PricewaterhouseCoopers had planned to quit its association with the companyafter the completion of a US$27.5 million private placement. “Followingdiscussions with the company’s new management team,” however, the auditorsagreed to stay on through the third quarter and beyond.

Also Tuesday, Drkoop.com filed with U.S. regulators for the resale of 117.66million common shares held by some of its trade creditors and formerbusiness partners. The company will not receive any proceeds from the sales.

Drkoop.com received the $27.5 million in financing last August from membersof its new management team, along with an investor group consisting ofCommonwealth Associates, Eco Associates, Prime Ventures, NetStar Ventures,JF Shea Ventures and RMC Capital. The company said the agreement gave itenough cash to continue operations for 18 months.

Richard M. Rosenblatt took over as chief executive, and Edward A. Cespedesand Stephen Plutsky, both of Prime Ventures LLC, became president and chieffinancial officer.

Earlier this month, Drkoop.com reported a third-quarter loss of $57.9million, or $1.60 per share, compared with a loss of $20.6 million, or 68cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Charges of $48.0 million from theprivate placement hurt results in the latest quarter. Revenue, however, wasalso lower than a year earlier, slipping to $2 million from $2.9 million.

Rosenblatt said the quarter was a “transitional” one, with the newmanagement installed a little more than a month before quarter’s end. “Ournext step is to continue winning customers, positioning the company forrevenue growth and profitability,” Rosenblatt added.

Drkoop.com shares are down from a 52-week high of 19 7/8.

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