Priceline.com faces a class action suit

NORWALK, CT: Shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit against Priceline.com for allegedly keeping share prices at an artificially high level.

NORWALK, CT: Shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit against Priceline.com for allegedly keeping share prices at an artificially high level.

NORWALK, CT: Shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit against Priceline.com for allegedly keeping share prices at an artificially high level.

The suit, filed by those who purchased shares between July 24 and Sept. 26, 2000, is only the latest in a series of disasters for the company.

The complaint claims Priceline issued false information that kept the share price elevated. A Sept. 27 announcement that third quarter earnings would fall short of analyst expectations, sent share prices plummeting 42% in one day. Once trading as high as 104, Priceline's shares recently have hovered at around 9.25.

The company's woes have prompted debate about how new economy companies communicate in times of crisis.

Robin Cohn, author of The PR Crisis Bible, said: 'The irony is that the dot-coms don't know how to utilize their own Web sites to deal with crises.

Corporations are learning that the Web can be a very significant element of a crisis response.'

Brian Ek, spokesman for Priceline, denies that the company has failed to use its site to communicate. 'At the exact moment the press release is going out on Business Wire, it gets put up on Web sites,' he argued.

Currently, there are no press releases on the Web site that address the lawsuit or the widescale negative coverage.



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