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The BBC's John Andrew
"There may be something to rescue from this mess"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 May, 2000, 06:31 GMT 07:31 UK
Boo could rise anew
Boo founders - copyright National Portrait Gallery
Boo two: Kajsa Leander and Ernst Malmsten
Collapsed online clothing retailer Boo.com could well be saved from closure according to the administrators, KPMG.


The infrastructure has a huge capacity - this represents a real point of interest for potential buyers

Mick McLoughlin, KPMG

The accounting group says it had received more than 30 inquiries from potential buyers within hours of the announcement that Boo had gone bust through cash flow problems.

To make sure bidders are serious, KPMG is asking each for a 1m refundable deposit by the end of the day.

About 360 staff - 250 in the UK - are waiting for news on their futures, and any buyer will have to move fast if rival internet firms are not to poach Boo's key personnel.

Their skills are in high demand as Boo's website is one of the most sophisticated retail sites on the web - although its cutting-edge technology was one of its downfalls.

Users needed computers with the latest web software to use the site and high-speed internet access if they were not to endure long waits for pages to load.

Boo's Swedish bosses, former model Kajsa Leander and Ernst Malmsten, have said they are deeply disappointed not to have been able to secure more funding from investors during weeks of talks.

Innovative

For KPMG, Mick McLoughlin said: "Boo was responsible for putting together the first pan-European fulfilment operation for e-retailing.

"People were able to order goods in 18 countries in any of seven languages and have them delivered to their door.

"The infrastructure has a huge capacity. This represents a real point of interest for potential buyers."

He said that the company could be broken up if a sale could not be secured for Boo as a going concern.

Boo has spent its 80m ($120m) initial funding and has debts of about 17m ($25m).

Its creditors are mainly advertising companies and delivery firms.

Among investors, the Lebanese-backed Omnia fund is reported to have been hardest hit.

The Financial Times says it put $40m into Boo over the past eight months, and that Sedco, a Saudi Arabian-backed fund, put in about $10m.

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See also:

18 May 00 | Business
The future of e-tailing
18 May 00 | Business
From Boo.com to Boo.gone
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Top web retailer collapses
18 May 00 | Business
My bout with Boo.com
25 Jan 00 | Business
Boo.com axes staff
17 Jan 00 | Business
Online shopping set to boom
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Online stores learn lessons
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