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BuildNet dismantles IPO plans

Despite having some big-name backers and an experienced chief executive, the online business-to-business marketplace for the construction industry cancels its plans to raise $230 million.

BuildNet withdrew its plans Tuesday to sell shares to the public, the latest in a long list of Net companies that have been forced to cancel or postpone such plans.

Durham, N.C.-based BuildNet, an online business-to-business marketplace for the construction industry, is backed by several heavyweights in the home-building market. The company filed its intention to raise $230 million with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March. But the next month, the markets were hit by a steep sell-off that has crushed the shares of many e-commerce companies.

In SEC documents explaining its decision to withdraw the IPO, BuildNet cited unfavorable market conditions, "as indicated by the IPO market for comparable companies and by the reductions in the stock prices of comparable public companies over the past few months."

Founded in 1996, BuildNet runs an exchange to help home builders automate the buying process and help suppliers improve inventory management. Customers also get up-to-date product information through the exchange.

BuildNet's investors include Pulte, the second-largest U.S. home builder; Owens Corning, the biggest U.S. insulation maker; and Kohler, the largest U.S. plumbing supplier, among others. The company has raised roughly $104.7 million in venture capital.

Former CompUSA chairman and Home Depot executive Nathan Morton is the company?s CEO.