Stock Watch: FreeMarkets Plans Miss iMark

FreeMarkets, Inc. (Nasdaq: FMKT) also dropped Wednesday after announcing acquisition plans. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based business-to-business marketplace firm fell 4 1/8 to 189 7/8 Wednesday following news that it signed a definitive agreement to buy privately held, Inc. for stock worth about $325 million.

iMark, headquartered in Austin, Texas, also operates an Internet marketplace. Combined, the companies will have more than 20,000 registered users and $265 million in posted assets. FreeMarkets said those factors position it as “a leader in the emerging B2B online surplus asset space.” The company will offer Web-based auctions, a 24-hour-a-day self-service exchange, and such other services as leasing and transportation.

FreeMarkets, whose clients consist of large purchasing organizations, will issue 1.75 million shares and options in exchange for all iMark’s outstanding shares, options and warrants. The companies expect to complete the transaction by the end of March.

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