Mercata to Close Down, Citing Lack of Investment

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Mercata, the Internet-based group-buying service provider, said yesterday that it will shut down its operations at the end of the month, citing its inability to attract further private investment.

The company filed for an initial public offering on March 9, 2000 and withdrew it on Wednesday.

Mercata, Bellevue, WA, used the power of group buying to cut prices on name-brand products, including electronics, home and kitchen goods, sporting goods and jewelry. The company called it an auction in reverse -- instead of competing to pay the highest price, shoppers bid to get the lowest price.

"Despite market conditions, we believe that our team demonstrates both tremendous innovation and superior execution," said Tom Van Horn, founder and president/CEO of Mercata.

The 20-month-old company in August received the first patent covering group-buying business methods and related technology. It has 16 pending patents. will take orders until Jan. 31 and will accept returns postmarked by Jan. 20.

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