Suny buying Tapuz portal for $450,000; initial price tag was $7.2 mln

In July 2000, Suny had planned to acquire the Israeli portal at a company value of $8 million. By October, the price had fallen to $3 million. At the beginning of 2000, Tapuz planned to issue at $50 million on the TASE , and is now being sold at less than 1% of that value.

Cellular telephone importer Suny Electronics today announced acquisition of the Tapuz portal for $450,000 in cash, through its Achla portal subsidiary.

This is the price at which the Tapuz company value nosedive has apparently ended. It began last July when Suny announced its planned acquisition of 90% of the Israeli portal for $7.2 million (at a company value of $8 million for Tapuz). In October, Suny canceled its first announcement, replacing it with a private placement to inject $1 million into Tapuz for 30-40% of its shares at a company value of only $3 million.

What happened between July and today, and since October? The facts are well known. Tapuz was caught in the global crash without any cash reserves, like many other websites worldwide. The company, which still had fantasies of issuing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) at a company value of $50 million at the beginning of 2000, began its long and rather unpleasant campaign to find investors.

Suny, controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov, has set a new nadir for blue and white Internet deals. Tapuz was sold at less than 1% of the value it had hoped to issue at a year ago. However, taking events on the US scene into consideration, it may well be that even this low price may seem overvalued in 2-3 months.

Suny is the licensed distributor of Nokia and Ericsson TDMA technology products, and the sole importer of Samsung CDMA technology products. The company jointly operates the GoNext cellular portal with Pele-Phone, and the Achla portal. These two activities are intended to be synergetic with Tapuz.

Suny fell 5.5% on early trading on the TASE today. Its current company value has shrunk to $89 million, compared to $330 million in July 2000.

Published by Israel's Business Arena on 7 January 2001

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