In Business This Week: HEADLINER
SCOTT BLUM: A COMPUTER DEALER TURNS MEDIA MAVEN
Buoyed by the growth of his online computer store, Scott Blum, CEO of Buycomp.com, is ready to take on Amazon.com and Reel.com in books and videos. Buycomp claims sales of $86 million in its first 11 months. Now, Blum is buying SpeedServe, the Internet division of Ingram Entertainment, the top movie and videogame distributor. And he has a deal in the works with distributor Ingram Book Group.
Unlike Amazon and other retail sites that offer chat and other amenities, Buycomp focuses on low price. "We think the model can be applied to many different vertical markets," says Scott Russell, a general partner of Softbank Technology Ventures, which owns 20% of Buycomp.
Blum plans to rename the company Buy.com and the new online stores Buymovies. com and Buybooks.com. He's also searching for a new CEO and aiming to take Buycomp public in 1999. Blum, who two years ago settled with the SEC over charges of inflating results at Pinnacle Micro, a company he co-founded, figures he'd fare best as Buy.com's official visionary.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
EXECUTIVE SUITE SCRAMBLE
THE RACE FOR THE CORNER OFFICE IS ON AT BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB. On Nov. 10, the drug giant announced a management reshuffling that has several senior executives gunning for the top job. Chairman and CEO Charles Heimbold will retire at the end of 2001, and as part of the reorganization, Executive Vice-President Kenneth Weg said he will retire in 2000. The leading contenders for chairman and CEO include 42-year-old Donald Hayden Jr., a 17-year Bristol veteran who was named head of worldwide medicines, and Richard Lane, 47, a former Merck executive who heads the U.S. drug business and who now will run worldwide pharmaceutical marketing, too. The shuffling comes as Bristol continues to ramp up its research- and-development spending in hopes of improving its roster of new drugs. Still, Bristol is expected to earn $3.6 billion in 1998, up 13%.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
MEDPARTNERS WILL TRY DRUG THERAPY
RICHES TO RAGS? Medpartners on Nov. 10 said it would exit the physician practice management business. From a standing start in 1993, MedPartners mounted a buying blitzkrieg that made it the largest PPM company, with 238 clinics and more than 10,000 doctors. In late 1997, MedPartners accepted a $6.3 billion buyout offer from rival PhyCor. But PhyCor pulled out just before MedPartners disclosed an unexpected operating loss. MedPartners plans to rebuild using pharmacy-benefits management as a base.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
MORGAN AGAIN WIELDS THE AX
FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR, J.P. Morgan is laying off staff in response to market turmoil and investor concern over Morgan's lofty expenses. Sources close to Morgan say about 740 people will be axed this time, mainly in emerging markets and bond businesses. Morgan had 16,155 employees at the end of the third quarter, down nearly 5% from 1997. But will headcount really fall? Morgan is adding in some areas even as it cuts in others. "We are continuing to hire selectively and gain market share," says a spokesman.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top