CAMPAIGN-I: Boo.com disposes of its technology assets

By GORDON MACMILLAN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 02 June 2000 12:00AM

The piecemeal sell-off of Boo.com has begun, with the sale of the technology side of the internet sports retailer for pounds 250,000.

The piecemeal sell-off of Boo.com has begun, with the sale of the

technology side of the internet sports retailer for pounds 250,000.



Boo’s liquidators, KPMG, said the business had been sold to the

e-commerce software company Bright Station, headed by Dan Wagner, the

founder of the information group Maid.



The disposal of Boo.com’s e-commerce software for only a fraction of the

millions it cost to develop means that investors and creditors will see

next to nothing of the money they are owed.



Boo.com cost pounds 80 million to develop, money that was poured in by

the company’s main backers, Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the

luxury goods company LVMH, Benetton and Goldman Sachs.



KPMG is now in talks to sell the Boo name and website.



KMPG confirmed that it is in negotiations with a number of buyers for

these parts of the company. Initial interest was expressed by around a

dozen companies.



The technology was one of the main stumbling blocks for Boo. While the

software allowed customers to view products in three dimensions, it was

only accessible by the fastest of computers. Last month, Boo reported

sales of pounds 430,000 for its first quarter. However, trading has been

much slower than many forecasters expected.



The acquisition of Boo’s software will complement Bright Station’s own

e-commerce software, Sparza. Bright Station will also recruit Boo’s

programming staff.



Bright Station itself has just risen from the ashes of collapse. The

company was formerly known as Dialog, a business that Wagner was forced

to sell three months ago due to mounting debts.



However, Wagner has little sympathy for Boo.com investors: ’They went in

with their eyes and their cheque books open.’



Boo called in the liquidators earlier this month after backers refused a

further multi-million pound cash injection to stave off collapse. Its

debts are estimated at pounds 17 million and creditors include the

advertising agency BMP DDB.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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