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The TV cameras were out in force in Birmingham city centre on Friday evening to record the first high-profile new media collapse in the West Midlands.

The victim is TW2.com, the well-regarded developer of e-commerce systems, which is to be airbrushed from history, after losing the support of parent company Specialist Computer Holdings.

Supposedly, TW2 is to be drawn into the maw of SCH - but as everyone - about 100 staff - is being made redundant, it's difficult to see what there is to be drawn in.

US firm ePresence (formerly known as Banyan) had been in negotiations to buy TW2.com, but the deal broke down last week. This prompted SCH to pull the plug.

SCH is owned by Peter Rigby and family, and it is the biggest or second biggest reseller in Europe. But the TW2 experience shows that Rigby is much better at buying companies (usually distressed) than he is at selling. A few years ago, SCH rejected a £30m offer for computer retail chain Byte from Kingfisher; within 18 months, the company was forced to sell the business at a knockdown price (probably less than zero, after the retention of liabilities), to Dixons Store Group.

So farewell then, TW2

Set up in 1994, TW2.com quickly built up a reputation for its creative work; it won loads of prizes. In 1998, the company took the Rigby shilling and grew like Topsy. It transformed itself into a developer of big database and ecommerce systems for very large companies. In between those big projects, it also designed The Register (MK1 and MK2). ®

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