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Ableauctions to buy iCollector

Antiques meets bankrupt stock

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British auction site iCollector is set to be acquired by American site Ableauctions.com for $14 million (£9.6 million) in shares and deferred shares.

Perhaps suitably, Ableauctions makes its business by buying goods off bankrupt companies and then selling online. iCollector is somewhat classier and sells antiques and the like.

It has offered to purchase iCollector in a share for share deal valued at $5.93 million plus two deferred payments, which it calls Deferred Consideration Notes - one for $3 million that will be redeemed in one year's time and the other of $5 million that will be paid on 30 September 2002, as long as iCollector meets revenue and sales targets.

iCollector, which once valued itself at £100 million, has apparently spent $25 million on creating the site, so its investors, including the Durlacher Corporation, will "only" lose about £7.6 million. Another Durlacher dream goes wrong.

iCollector was created in 1994 and has signed over 70 auction house clients and a close relationship with eBay. There are not expected to be any sackings. Its chairman Tony Caplin said of the buy-out: "Consolidation in this industry is inevitable. At iCollector we recognise that by combining Ableauctions' auction expertise with iCollector's quality client base and brand, we will be able to reach critical mass and profitability much more rapidly and efficiently." ®

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