Spherix Inc., a Beltsville technology and reservation service company, lost its bid to provide one-stop reservation services for federal parks and recreation areas.
The Department of Agriculture this week awarded the 31/2 -year contract, potentially worth $128 million, to ReserveAmerica, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster based in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
As part of President Bush's E-Gov Recreation One-Stop Initiative, the contract consolidated two existing contracts -- one held by Spherix to provide reservation service for some national parks and the other by ReserveAmerica to provide service for national recreation areas.
Spherix officials did not respond to requests for comment, but in a news release, President Thomas W. Gantt said the company will closely review the agency's decision. Its existing contract with the National Park Service will expire by year-end.
The company has been fighting to hold on to the business since fall 2002, when the Office of Management and Budget ordered the consolidation.
In its news release yesterday, Spherix said it had demonstrated a superior record of past performance and had proposed a significantly lower price than its competitor. However, USDA Forest Service spokesman Dan Jiron said that cost was not the sole criterion in the award and that it was important the winning company meet certain quality standards.
ReserveAmerica President Brock Weatherup said that his company was already doing two-thirds of the work covered in the consolidated contract and that its Internet information and reservation tools were "quite a bit different and quite a bit more successful."
Shares of Spherix, which trade on Nasdaq, closed yesterday at $3.45, down 66 cents. This week, the company reported second-quarter profit of $192,257, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $6.8 million.
ReserveAmerica's parent company, IAC/InterActive Corp., is run by Barry Diller, who sits on the board of The Washington Post Co.