More harsh medicine for Drkoop.com

Summary:Online health site fights for survival with plans to close its Austin headquarters, lay off 45 more employees and explore brick-and-mortar options.

The layoffs at the online health site mark continued attempts by the company's management to turn a profit. Nearly one-third of the company, or 22 full-time workers and 20 part-time workers, were laid off in August, shortly after the company named former Excite@Home executive Richard Rosenblatt as its new chief executive.

Drkoop.com also announced in August that it had received more than $20 million in equity financing.

Tuesday's restructuring moves, along with the previous operational consolidations, are expected to cut the company's total cash expenses to less than $1 million per month, down from $8 million per month in March 2000, the company said in a news release.

Drkoop said it plans to begin exploring new business opportunities not limited to the Internet, including partnering with brick-and-mortar businesses. It will turn its Santa Monica, Calif., offices into its corporate headquarters.

In the past year, Drkoop has seen its stock plunge to 40 cents per share from a 52-week high of $17.12. In morning trading Tuesday, the stock rose 3 cents, or about 8 percent, to 44 cents.

The company is expected to have a special meeting of investors Jan. 25 to vote on whether the company should implement a 10-to-1 reverse stock split. A split could help boost the company's low share price and help it avoid removal from the Nasdaq Stock Market.

According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Drkoop intends to plead its case to stay on the Nasdaq at a hearing before that stock market.

Topics: Health

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