NetPerceptions Reaching End of the Road

The once high-flying Internet software company appears to have gone the way of many of the dotcoms it once sold its software to.

NetPerceptions Inc., a once high-flying Internet software company that led the Web personalization craze of the late 1990s, appears to have gone the way of many of the dot-coms it once sold its software to.

The Minneapolis-based company announced a cash payout of $1.50 per share to its existing stockholders, while laying off 12 of its remaining 22 employees, including President and CEO Donald Peterson.

In a statement, company officials said the move was made to settle its existing obligations and liabilities, while it explores asset dispositions, including dissolution and liquidation. The company has been actively seeking a buyer since February.

NetPerceptions pioneered a Web personalization technology called collaborative filtering, which presents marketing offers and content to Web site visitors based on buying behavior of other customers determined to be like-minded to them.

The companys stock soared to $60 a share at the height of the dot-com boom, giving it a market capitalization of $1.5 billion. Its stock now trades at less than $2 a share for a market cap of less than $50 million. NetPerceptions has also lost $220 million since its founding in 1996.

With much of its customer base going the way of the dot-com bust, the company in more recent years tried to reposition itself for the retail industry, including developing personalized advertising circulars, with little success. Its also focused on software used for up-sell and cross-sell offers in call centers. In its most recent quarter ended June 30, NetPerceptions had just $913,000 in revenues, losing $216,000.

Analytical technology similar to what NetPerceptions pioneered lives on though and is currently a key strategic focus for enterprise software companies like SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc.

/zimages/6/26680.gifHow did NetPerceptions and other e-commerce developers do last quarter? Read eWEEKs financial coverage.