Dotcom Disasters Keep Insolvency Practitioners Busy

Loss of investor confidence in dotcom companies has created a mini-boom for insolvency practitioners, according to British financial recovery and restructuring specialists, Kroll Buchler Phillips.

The firm, known for its high-profile work with ailing British football clubs, has been at the forefront of the Internet insolvency boom.

"We've moved on from football," said Kroll Buchler Phillips business recovery partner Lee Manning. The firm has lent its services to around a dozen dotcom companies, primarily business-to-consumer start-ups which have been hit the hardest by Net share price corrections.

"Since the market crashed in April, Net businesses - particularly B2C sites - that were promised first and second round funding have been let down by the money people," said Manning.

The failure rate would continue until the market regains its confidence.

Dotcoms tend to have few assets and often their cashflows are not sufficient to sustain them. "If you look to the future, some of them may already be balance sheet insolvent," said Manning.

In some cases, insolvency practitioners can help ailing companies go into a controlled process that will see better returns for creditors while the dotcom has a chance of finding a partner to keep it going. This strategy worked in the case of two recent KBP clients, Adabra and Net Imperative, said Manning.

"I believe the way forward will be for dotcom companies to merge; that effectively halves the overheads while doubling their user base."

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