ComputerWire, the London-based IT news and research service and owner of Computer Business Review magazine, has been sold to its primary investor and advisor, Interregnum, for £44,000 (€68,900).
High-tech venture capital group Interregnum said Friday that it was acquiring the loss-making ComputerWire business and its assets through an administrative receivership process, agreeing to absorb the £1.02 million (€1.6m) owed to it by ComputerWire. All other debt and equity in ComputerWire will be written off, the company added.
Prior to obtaining outright ownership of ComputerWire, Interregnum had built a 21% stake in the company, whose book value was put at £906,000 (€1.4m) at the end of April. That contrasts sharply with the £9 million valuation Interregnum assigned the company at the end of December.
Interregnum acknowledged in May that a lack of enthusiasm for follow-on investment in early-stage technology companies was impacting its wider portfolio of high-tech firms, such as ComputerWire, which it “therefore regarded as ‘at risk'”. That warning came only three months after it pumped £500,000 (€783,000) of “development capital” into ComputerWire.
Interregnum’s portfolio comprises 29 high-tech investments, including management consultancy and software group Metapraxis; Adaptive, a vendor of enterprise repository software; speech recognition software firm Vocalex; and Link Software, a developer of collaboration products.
Of the £20 million (€31.3m) raised at its March 2000 initial public offering on the London stock market, Interregnum had just £5.2 million (€8.1m) in investment capital remaining at the end of it last financial period.
During that six months to the end of December, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £648,000 (€1m) against a profit of £9,000 (€14,100) in the same period a year earlier. Group turnover dropped to £602,500 (€943,350) from £731,000 (€1.1m), although it calculated that the overall value of its portfolio had increased by 11% to £14.7 million (€23m).