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PurchasePro rises on new COO, analyst talk

PurchasePro (Nasdaq: PPRO) got a boost out of news it has hired a new Chief Operating Officer. Bullish statements from Lehman Brothers helped drive the news home.

Shares were up 3 percent, or 0.31 to 14.25 in early trading Wednesday.

Last night, the company announced it had hired Shawn McGhee the former President of North America for Office Depot, as its new COO.

"We feel this is a strong hire for PurchasePro," said Lehman Brothers analyst Patrick Walravens in a research note.

"We also feel this is a good time for long-term investors to buy PurchasePro," Walravens added. While reiterating a "buy" rating and $60 target price on the stock, he said sequential revenue growth is expected to be 75 percent this quarter versus 10 to 15 percent for the competition.

PurchasePro is trading at 6 times 2001 revenue and 42 times 2001 earnings, well below other B2B players like Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA) and Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC), he added. Both those stocks tumbled Monday, despite mixed messages from analysts.

"We also think upcoming industry events and conferences could serve as a catalyst for PPRO, provided the market is at least somewhat cooperative," Walravens stated.

Though the hiring of McGhee as COO is a positive move, its only one of two moves Wall Street has been waiting for; "The next step is for (PurchasePro) to hire a world class CFO," Walravens said.