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(April 3, 2001) -- Citing MarchFirst's decision to begin selling off its assets, Prudential today said it would stop its coverage of the faltering Internet consultancy. Prudential said, "We believe that [MarchFirst] will not survive in anything like its current form and when the end comes, there will be no value to common shareholders." MarchFirst closed at 8 cents today, down 17%.

Speculation continues about the survival prospects for troubled online holding company, whose stock sank nearly 70% in the 24 hours since its shares resumed trading on the Nasdaq market. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange commission Monday night, MarchFirst said it would delay reporting its year-end results due to Divine Inc. agreeing to acquire part of the company, and because it "continues to have significant liquidity difficulties and is pursuing alternatives to satisfy obligations to its creditors."

MarchFirst said the deal with Divine is worth up to $73 million over five years, and announced it had also negotiated an extension of a loan agreement with American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago from April 16 through June 15.

Trading in MarchFirst stock was halted last Wednesday when it was at 16 cents a share and resumed Monday at 1:30 p.m. The stock price dropped to 9 cents Monday and continued to sink despite the acquisition news. -- Catharine P. Taylor and Mercedes Cardona

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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