Bloomberg News

NORWALK, Conn.— Citing unfavorable market conditions, Priceline.com Inc. and W.R. Berkley Corp. said they have dropped their plan to create an Internet auto insurance sales company.

Priceline, which lets people name their own prices for goods and services, said last August that it would start the venture with the Greenwich, Conn., property-casualty insurance company this quarter.

In December, Priceline.com canceled plans to enter the business-to-business, term-life insurance, and cell-phone markets. Shares in the company, which traded as high as $162.38 in April 1999, have plummeted to $1.41.

A Priceline spokesman said no one had been hired for the venture with Berkley and that Priceline will focus on its main businesses: airline tickets and car rentals.

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