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Dan Wagner, Chief Executive of Bright Station
"It is a perfect platform for us"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 08:12 GMT 09:12 UK
Buyer for Boo.com technology
boo website
The liquidators of failed sportswear retailer Boo.com has sold the technology side of its business for a quarter of a million pounds.

This technology cost millions of pounds to develop and its cut-price sale means investors lose practically all of the 80m they put into Boo.

The buyer is Bright Station, a company which provides e-commerce software for internet companies.

Investors went in with their eyes open and their cheque books open

Dan Wagner, Bright Station chief executive

The liquidators are KPMG and they are also expected to announce buyers for the brand and the website later on Tuesday.

Bright Station has bought the technology that allowed Boo customers to view three-dimensional animations of the clothes they wanted to buy.

Sparza - Bright Station's e-commerce business - will rent out the technology solutions Boo developed to consumer retailers.

The amount invested in Boo technology "may have been a slight amount of overkill for Boo. It is a perfect platform for us," Bright Station chief executive Dan Wagner said.

Mr Wagner had little sympathy for Boo investors, who are now set to lose all they invested in the company.

"Investors went in with their eyes open and their cheque books open," he said.
Boo founder malmsten
Ernst Malmsten was a joint founder of Boo.com

Meanwhile, ex-boo employees who worked on the design of the site have set up an online curriculum vitae and e-mail at postboo.com, demonstrating their skills and touting for work.

Boo called in the liquidators earlier this month after investors refused to make another cash injection in the company. Boo had spent more than 80m ($135m) since its launch, while only gaining sales of around 1m each month.

It now owes 17m to external creditors, many advertising companies and delivery firms.

Bright Station expanded rapidly two years ago when it acquired Knight Ridder Information and renamed it Dialog. But three months ago it was forced to sell Dialog at a huge loss, after it was unable to meet the mounting debt payments.

Advanced technology

Boo had spent much of its cash developing the computer systems it needed to serve customers in 18 countries.

Boo's website was 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 were likely to endure long waits for pages to load.

But the introduction of new, high-speed internet services using cable television links in the next few years is expected to make the technology more accessible for e-commerce.

Others also interested

The liquidator for collapsed internet sportswear retailer Boo.com, KPMG, has confirmed that it is negotations with a number of buyers for other parts of the company.

"The number of prospective buyers has reduced from the half dozen or so in the early part of this week, but, because they are entering a fairly sensitive phase, we cannot say how many buyers are still in the frame," a KPMG spokesman said.

The number of bidders dropped sharply after KPMG asked them for a 1m ($1.5m) deposit to prove the seriousness of their intentions.

Boo.com, was founded 18 months ago by the model Kajsa Leander and fellow Swede Ernst Malmsten.

Initial investors included Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury goods group LVMH, the Italian Benetton family, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

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See also:

18 May 00 | Business
My bout with Boo.com
18 May 00 | Business
From Boo.com to Boo.gone
18 May 00 | Business
The future of e-tailing
22 May 00 | Business
Second UK net firm collapses
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