Stock Watch: Restructuring Charge Wounds Beyond.com

Beyond.com (Nasdaq: BYND) was down 1/16 to 3 3/16 in morning trading Thursday, after the Santa Clara, California-based e-commerce services provider said it will take an $11 million to $14 million restructuring charge in the first quarter.

The charge, disclosed in a Form 10-K filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, covers about $3 million for employee severance and facilities consolidation, and $8 to $9 million in termination fees and write-offs associated with marketing agreements.

In January, the company laid off about 20 percent of its workforce and consolidated its satellite offices. It also ended some marketing agreements as part of a plan to shift to B2B services. The company is concentrating on its eStore and Government Systems divisions, and devoting fewer resources to its Website group, which sells software and computer-related products. It will still sell those products on its site, the company said, but will no longer spend “significant advertising dollars to attract new customers.”

“While our marketing agreements were important customer acquisition tools when we were a consumer-focused company, as a B2B-focused company, Beyond.com no longer needs to spend millions of dollars to build its consumer brand,” said Rick Neely, interim chief executive officer. “The savings from the resources previously committed to marketing agreements allow us to preserve our cash for improvements to our infrastructure and services offerings, consistent with our B2B direction.”

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