Raging Bull Exec Buys Unstrung

NEW YORK — Bill Martin, co-founder of stock message-board site Raging Bull, said Thursday that he has acquired a controlling stake in wireless-industry news site Unstrung Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Mr. Martin, 23 years old, acquired the stake from wireless-software maker SkyScout Inc., which has since ceased operations. Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Martin owns a majority stake, while Unstrung’s founder and editor-in-chief, Josh Newman, owns a minority stake. While the precise sizes of their individual stakes weren’t disclosed, together they own 90% of Unstrung. SkyScout will retain the other 10%.

Mr. Martin is now chief executive of Unstrung, while Mr. Newman will continue to run the news operations.

SkyScout was planning to shut down Unstrung (www.unstrung.com), according to Mr. Martin.

“It’s a great time to be opportunistic,” he said. “There’s a lot of gems that are being thrown down the toilet with everything else.”

SkyScout couldn’t be reached for comment.

Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but it was entirely “self-financed,” Mr. Martin said. As a closely held company, Unstrung doesn’t disclose its revenues, but is currently breaking even, according to Mr. Martin.

Mr. Newman launched Unstrung last spring, with a staff of six, as a news and commentary site focused on the wireless industry. The site attracts about 35,000 people a month, according to the company, many of whom it says are venture capitalists, industry executives, and journalists.

Plans are in the works to launch Unstrung conferences as well as a premium service, Unstrung Insider, which will include access to networking events, a database of industry executives and e-mail reports of breaking news in the wireless industry. Unstrung Insider will cost $299 a year.

Mr. Martin started Raging Bull in 1998 and sold it to CMGI Inc.’s (CMGI) AltaVista unit for an undisclosed amount in 1999. The site was in turn sold by AltaVista to Terra Lycos SA last January.

“It was literally one of those dorm room to the boardroom stories,” he says.

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.