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PurchasePro delays annual meeting; Arthur Andersen quits as auditor

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Las Vegas--PurchasePro Inc., a b-to-b procurement software developer, has delayed its annual shareholder meeting, which had been set for Dec. 10, and Arthur Andersen, its independent auditor, has quit. PurchasePro, which acquired a high-profile reputation under flashy--and recently ousted--Chairman-CEO Charles "Junior" Johnson, has not set a new date for the annual meeting.In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, PurchasePro, whose clients include Hilton Hotels Corp., said Andersen quit because of concerns over PurchasePro's internal controls. PurchasePro said it has addressed those concerns. "Through the implementation of new internal control procedures and recent changes in management, the company believes it has adequately addressed Andersen's problems," the company said in its SEC filing. Arthur Andersen spokesman David Pacholczyk declined comment, citing client confidentiality.For PurchasePro, whose financial problems have overshadowed any business successes over the past half year, the most recent turn of events will do further harm to its reputation on Wall Street. The company fired 300 employees, or half its work force, in June--about a month after Johnson's departure. Its stock shares are trading in the 72-cent to 77-cent range, off a 52-week high of $31.36.

--Philip B. Clark

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