Jay S. Walker: The Price Isn't Right, But...

Jay Walker, founder of the name-your-own-price Internet phenom Priceline.com, said on Aug. 1 he will sell a slug of his stock for $190 million to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and cable mogul John Malone. But it's clearly at a price Walker wouldn't have named--Malone's Liberty Media and Allen's Vulcan Ventures are scooping up 8 million shares at a bargain-basement $23.75 each.

Walker structured the deal so the stock, well off its 52-week high of 104 1/4, won't come under more pressure. Although Liberty and Vulcan won't buy the shares for at least a year, Walker already plans to put $125 million into another brainchild, Priceline WebHouse Club, a name-your-own price business for groceries.

Walker, who still owns 50 million Priceline shares, concedes "this isn't the greatest time for me to price a transaction." But, he says, "I get Paul Allen and John Malone as strong, long-term investors." But that may not be enough for investors to start naming higher prices for Priceline's stock.

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