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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
US fashion portal buys Boo name

US portal Fashionmall.com says it has bought the web site of collapsed internet clothing retailer Boo.com.

Chief executive Benjamin Nasarin confirmed that his company had purchased "the very heart of Boo.com. All its domain names, trademarks, front-end contents and contents rights."

He would not say how much it was costing, but added that it was all being paid for in cash.

However, he said more was being paid than for the technology side of the business which was sold to internet venture group Bright Station earlier this week for an estimated 250,000.

Mr Nasarin said he considered the "front-end" operations to be worth more than the "back-end" operations as Boo.com had spent $200m (135m) on building a brand name with strong exposure across Europe.

Fashionmall.com will use Boo.com to expand its business in Europe.

The firm describes itself as a portal that markets sites focused on fashion merchandise.

The New York-based firm was founded in 1994 and listed on the Nasdaq exchange in 1999.

On 15 May, it reported a first quarter net loss of $2.845m on sales of $1.08m.

Earlier, there was confusion about the sale following reports of it having been announced on the Boo web site.

The announcement then seemed to have disappeared and nobody from either company could be contacted.

A spokesman for Boo.com's receivers KPMG said he was unaware of the deal.

Technology sold

Boo's technology, which allowed surfers with super-fast computers to view Boo.com's ware in three dimensions, has already been sold for a quarter of a million pounds.

It 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, Bright Station, 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

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

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.

Advanced technology

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

Boo's web site 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.

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See also:

30 May 00 | Business
Buyer for Boo.com technology
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
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