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Copan silence prompts sell-off rumours

Looking for a buyer, not a leader

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Copan announced certification by video system supplier SGL UK in April. A source there said: "I have heard through the grapevine that Copan was having major problems."

The CEO of Copan channel partner Comparex Belgium, Lieven De Smedt, said Copan is still operating: "as far as I know. We've recently been in contact with them," and mentioned a phone call to its French office two weeks ago. However the main French office number is no longer answered by Copan and the Copan France mobile phone number is on voice mail.

There is no response from its office in China, the Singapore office number is no longer in service and ringing the Korean office gets you a "wrong number" response.

That leaves the five offices in the USA.

The Southboro, Mass office phone did not answer the phone. The New York office number instantly terminates the call. The Texas office number is an executive office suite and the receptionist says Copan has moved and left no forwarding address. The Washington DC office does take calls and staff there, under the management of Kelly Welch, say Copan is still operating. Further queries were referred to company headquarters in Longmont.

The company headquarters in Longmont is operational and the technical support line in the USA is still in operation.

There is no external PR agency acting for Copan. A contact at Copan's last listed US external PR agency, Inkhouse, said: "We stopped working with Copan when their VP of Marketing left." That refers to Bill Mottram, who left in May, 2008. Notwithstanding that, Copan's last press release, dated April this year, the one listing the SGL UK certification, still listed Inkhouse as its PR agency.

Calls and mails to company representatives about the situation have not yet been been answered.

It seems that Copan HQ is cutting its sales office infrastructure down to the Washington DC office, possibly for federal systems sales, and still maintaining its technical support facilities while trying to arrive at a workable solution to the company's problems.

Possible outcomes seen from here include Copan shrinking its operations to become a much smaller company. If that were the case then it could be a long time before the VC's received a return on the dollars they have put in.

Copan could also be looking for a possible company sale - or marriage, if you will - with the funding venture capitalists getting whatever they can from a yard-sale of Copan's assets.

If that last alternative happened, Copan would would effectively disappear. That would be a dreadful end to a highly promising technology, and a disheartening blow to the venture capitalists who have shown faith in Copan by voting with their wallets.

It would also be a cruel end to the hopes of the founders and the careers of many people who have been working to develop, sell and support the technology and the company. ®

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