There's nothing like some hard times to make a company re-evaluate the company it keeps.Theres nothing like some hard times to make a company re-evaluate the company it keeps. Internet health property WebMD (Nasdaq: HLTH), which is in the middle of a massive restructuring, is rapidly redoing its partnerships to push up its profit target. The effort illustrates the big difference between dot-coms circa 1999 and dot-coms now. Like many Internet companies, WebMD signed a host of big-ticket agreements in 1999 to tout key partners and boost its stock price. Many of the deals involved stock swaps, but now have to be redone since Internet valuations have plummeted. In the new world order, WebMD will judge partnerships by profitability timing and strategic relevance criteria that should have been used in the first place.
One partnership to get new terms was the deal with News Corp. WebMD will dish off The Health Network, a cable network, to News Corp. and will dismantle an international joint venture. WebMD said it will take a noncash charge of $275 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2000.