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Bamboo and IPIX merge, report losses

    Bamboo.com Inc. (Nasdaq: BAMB) and Interactive Pictures (Nasdaq: IPIX) said Tuesday they will merge with in a stock swap designed to form the premier interactive imagery company for the Internet. Both companies also reported quarterly losses.

    Shares in Bamboo, the producer of 360-degree virtual tours for the real estate, travel and hospitality, e-commerce, electronic publishing, education and entertainment markets closed at 16 1/4 Monday. IPIX, which does immersive imaging for the Internet, closed at 21 3/8 Monday.

    The merger, expected to close in the first quarter of 2000, would create a company with a market capitalization of $850 million. creating a company with a market IPIX shareholders will get 1.369 shares of Bamboo.com for each IPIX share. IPIX and Bamboo shareholders will each own around 50 percent of the combined company.

    The new entity may expand beyond real estate into travel, government, education, entertainment electronic publishing and e-commerce markets.

    The merger "brings together the two leaders in Internet imaging, enabling us to dramatically accelerate the adoption of IPIX technology for business and consumer applications," said Jim Phillips chairman and chief executive of IPIX in a statement.

    Bamboo reported a third quarter loss of 63 cents a share, 2 cents better than the 65 cent a share loss predicted by First Call. Revenue for Bamboo's first fiscal quarter as a publicly traded company was $1.3 million, an increase of over 60 times the revenue of $21,000 for the comparable quarter ended September 30, 1998. Bamboo took off in its IPO this past August, reaching 17 9/16 on its first day of trading.

    For the current quarter, adjusted loss, excluding stock compensation charges and other non-cash items was $8,6 million, or 63 cents a share, versus a loss of $61,000 or a loss of 1 cent a share for the same quarter a year ago. Net loss was $21.3 million, or $1.55 a share including charges.

    IPIX said net loss for the third quarter was $6.8 million or 44 cents a share compared to a net loss of $3.1 million or $78 cents a share for its third quarter. Revenue for the quarter were $2.4 million, more than triple the $783,000 reported for the similar period of 1998 and a 33 percent increase over the $1.8 million reported in the second quarter of 1999.

    IPIX fell below it offering price in its August IPO, but "Our ability to maintain strong gross profit margins of 50% reflects the significant profitability of our key sales," Phillips said.