Stock Watch: Ventro Hit on Lower Funding, Rivals’ Plans

Ventro Corp. (Nasdaq: VNTR) fell 14 7/8 to 64 1/8 Wednesday after the B2B company canceled plans for a public offering of 1.825 million common shares and reduced the size of a debt offering.

The Mountain View, California-based company, which serves the health-care industry, is offering $250 million of convertible subordinated notes instead of the $300 million originally planned. Ventro cited “market conditions” as a reason for the change in plans.

Reports that a group of large healthcare companies plan to form their own B2B exchange could also hurt Ventro. Johnson & Johnson, GE Medical Systems, Baxter International Inc., Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic, Inc. reportedly will band together to buy and sell supplies, equipment and services. The companies are following a trend seen in other industries, with big purchasers bypassing suppliers to cut costs.

Putting added pressure on Ventro is news that rivals Neoforma.com and Eclipsys Corp. are in talks about a possible merger. The companies said no agreement has been reached, and stressed that a merger might not take place.

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