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Scoot.com posts losses

Denies it's up for sale

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Scoot.com has denied reports that its decision to appoint Merrill Lynch to conduct a review of all "strategic options" for the information finder and business directory business is a signal that the outfit is up for sale.

A spokeswoman for the company said that management was keen to concentrate on running and expanding the business.

Merrill Lynch has been brought in, she said, to look at the way the business is run and to see if it can be operated more efficiently.

Despite the optimistic spin, this does not rule out a possible sale or job losses once the review is complete.

Publishing unaudited preliminary results for the 15 months ended 31 December 2000, Scoot.com reported group revenue of £24.1 million and EBITDA losses of £46.4 million.

The outfit says it had £31.3 million of free cash in the bank at the end of last year.

Dick Eykel, Chairman, of Scoot.com, said that its UK business was "on track to profitability" but that it was now "critical to ensure that Scoot can fully exploit its exciting business opportunities".

However, Scoot (UK) revenue decreased from £15.4 million in 1999 to £11.5 million in the 15-month period ended 31 December 2000.

Scoot's subscriber base in the UK is expected to grow to 110,000 by the end of the year. Scoot's European user base is predicted to hit 85,000 by end of 2001. ®

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