Scoot lives to fight another day (or two)

End game approaches

Scoot.com has staved off collapse - for an entire month.

The stricken firm, an online Yellow Pages-type operation, has sold its 50 per cent stake in Scoot Europe to Vivendi for 1 Euro, removing itself from any further funding obligations for the enterprise. It is paying E1m to Vivendi for services supplied by the French giant for Scoot Europe.

Scoot.com has the UK and Irish operation to itself. It
would have run out of money on July 27. Shorn of Scoot Europe it will now run out of money on August 27. Clearly the company will need more cash - and it says discussions are progressing for a £15m bridging loan. Scoot.com's major asset is Loot, a classified ads newspaper, which actually makes money, so there is some collateral.

However, who in their right mind would fund Scoot.com any further? The company has consistently disappointed, it has consistently been over-optimistic, and it has consistently spent cash like there was no tomorrow.

There may be a tomorrow for Scoot.com, but will there be a September? The most likely scenario is that the brand will be re-united under the ownership of Vivendi, a 20 per cent-ish stakeholder in Scoot.com. All trademarks, brand names etc. have been assigned to Scoot Europe (which operates in France, Belgium and The Netherlands) so if and when Scoot.com collapses, Vivendi can pick up the pieces in the UK and Ireland relatively cheaply. ®

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