Scoot in Talks over Possible Sale or Merger
Vaughan-Adams, Liz, The Independent (London, England)
THE TROUBLED online directories business Scoot.com yesterday hinted that its cash would last longer than expected while unveiling it was in talks with six parties over a possible sale or restructuring.
Terry Martin, Scoot's managing director, said he believed the group's pounds 12.2m of cash would last beyond May 2002 on current indications. He noted that the company is to carry out a comprehensive `working capital review' to calculate precisely how long its cash will last.
The move came as Scoot reported a pre-tax loss of pounds 174.8m for the nine months to 30 September after accounting for a pounds 105m goodwill write-off and additional costs from the sale of its Loot classified newspaper business. The company made a loss of pounds 34.2m in the same quarter last year.
Scoot, which has undergone a dramatic restructuring including axing about 150 staff and selling off assets, is looking for a partner or buyer to enable it to stay in business. The company is also considering raising money so that it can continue as a standalone entity.
"There is a whole range of people we're talking to from different industries who are interested in Scoot for a variety of reasons. Some from a partnership arrangement, some from an outright purchase [perspective], some looking at other aspects of the business," Mr Martin said. …