Buyout News Sends B2bstores.com Lower

B2bstores.com (Nasdaq: BTBC) fell5/32 to 1 3/16 Tuesday after the company agreed to be acquired bymedical-supply company Ivax Corp. (AMEX:IVX).

B2b stores, which sells industrial supplies including food-service and janitorialequipment online, will give Ivax 20 million newly issued common shares asthe company merges with the Ivax Digagnostics unit.

Miami, Florida-based Ivax said it will discontinue B2bstores.com’s Internetoperations, and the newly merged company will only be involved in businessescurrently handled by Ivax Diagnostics — developing, manufacturing andmarketing diagnostic instrumentation and reagents.

Both companies’ boards approved the merger, which now goes to B2bstores.comshareholders for a vote.

The deal gives Ivax “an immediate cash infusion and direct access to thecapital markets to accelerate its future growth,” said Philip Frost, Ivax chairmanand chief executive officer. Ivax Diagnostics will have access to cash andcash equivalents of US$22 million as a result of the transaction, the companysaid.

According to Frost, shareholders of B2bstores.com will benefit by receiving a stake in the future growth of a proven company in a $19 billion industry.

B2bstores.com has been looking for a buyer or partner since last spring, and hascut back its operations and sold assets in order to save cash while itreviews its options.

B2bstores.com had aimed to “create and market the ultimate Web destination forbusinesses” seeking to buy supplies online, offering companies a wide rangeof products — from computer hardware to napkin dispensers to gift boxes –and referrals to service providers.

Company shares have taken a beating in recent months, however, trading wellbelow their 52-week high of 19 1/2.

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