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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 September, 2002, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Napster asset bidding heats up
Prast: "The cat stays. The earphones may go."
At least a dozen bidders have said they are keen to buy the assets of the collapsed online music swapping website Napster, according to the bankers who will chose the winner.


We would look at how to tweak the brand to make it more sexy

Charles Prast
Private Media
Among the bids is one from a Spanish porn group, Private Media.

The group would like to set up the world's first website for the sharing of pornography.

Its offer of 1 million shares in Private Media would be worth $2.82m, less than half the minimum asking price set by the investment bank when the bidding process started.

Winner this week

The bids to take over the assets will be analysed by Trenwith Securities, managing director Rick Chance said.

The investment bank will then recommend to Napster's creditors which one to accept, he said.

The recommendation will be made later this week, after the auction closes on 17 September, he said.

"Trenwith is pleased with the quality and quantity of bidders involved in this process given the accelerated time frame that the process is being conducted under," Mr Chance said.

Offers to buy the assets have come in both from the US and from international bidders, he said.

Porn sharing?

Private Media insisted that the main reason why it wants to acquire Napster's assets is its name.

"We feel Napster stands for the free exchange of ideas and information between like-minded people," said the porn group's president and chief executive, Charles Prast.

The technology "is not terribly relevant to us because we are not going to support the exchange of MP3s, just the exchange of adult videos, text, photos, and stories," he said.

"We would look at how to tweak the brand to make it more sexy.

"But certainly the brand and the logo are fabulous. The cat stays. The earphones may go.

"We may need to add horns to him, as my design department has shown me," Mr Prast said.

Private Media's shares have risen 24% since its share bid was first announced last week.

But on Monday, the stock slipped back, losing almost 5% amidst talk that its bid had been a publicity stunt.



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03 Sep 02 | Business
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