- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

AUSTIN, Texas A Virginia-based Internet company yesterday called off its merger talks with ailing on-line health information provider drkoop.com.

MillenniumHealth Communications Inc., of Reston, said in a statement that negotiations between the two companies have ended.

"We regret to announce that after several serious discussions with www.drkoop.com's senior management, our companies did not agree on our proposal to merge," the statement said.

The statement offered no more details, and messages left yesterday with both MillenniumHealth and Austin-based drkoop.com were not immediately returned.

MillenniumHealth, which sells medical equipment and provides on-line news, announced two weeks ago that it wanted to merge drkoop.com. Drkoop officials said they would consider the offer, details of which were not disclosed.

Last week, www.Undertherapy.com, a Beverly Hills, Calif., Internet company that offers medical information for health care service providers, also offered publicly to buy drkoop.com, a proposal the latter's officials reluctantly said they would consider.

Drkoop.com, which provides on-line health information, has been in poor financial health for some time.

The company has been seeking new financing since April, when it announced it only had enough cash to survive until August. The announcement came after the company disclosed in March that its auditors had cast doubt on its ability to remain in business.

And several shareholders are seeking class-action status in a lawsuit claiming the company made false promises when it went public last July. Co-founded in 1997 by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, the stock sold as high as $45 shortly after the initial public offering. It has lingered in the $1 range for several months.

Yesterday, drkoop.com shares fell 16 percent, or 21.9 points, to $1.16 on the Nasdaq Composite Index.

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