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2001: Bleed or bust?

The first business day of 2001 may have seemed a slow one for most in high-tech, but one company guaranteed to be having more than its fair share of high-octane boardroom meetings is letsbuyit.com.
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

The first business day of 2001 may have seemed a slow one for most in high-tech, but one company guaranteed to be having more than its fair share of high-octane boardroom meetings is letsbuyit.com.

This pan-European e-tailer is facing a crucial moment in its history. The company - which allows customers to club together to bulk-buy products at knockdown prices - experienced a stock plunge of 70 per cent on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt this morning, after last Friday's suspension was lifted. The firm's share price may have recovered slightly this afternoon, but the long-term trend is still very much a downward spiral, with the value of the company falling steadily since its IPO last July. The concept of 'we-commerce' which letsbuyit.com claims to be pioneering, may not be flawed in itself, though. Instead, it may be that it's the practicalities of launching and maintaining versions of its product in 14 different European markets that's dragging it down. And that kind of problem is a long-term one, which could leave the company in a slow drawn-out slide. In fact, this could well set the trend for 2001. Last year saw analysts put crashing dot-coms down to ill-thought out initial concepts or poor first implementation. This year could see the lingering malaise of companies who have the first two right but fail to expand and grow the business consistently. So maybe there'll be no 'boo goes bust' headlines, just a slow bleeding to death, with redundancies and receivers being the order of the day.
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