Staff cuts and office closures as LibertyOne forecasts $60 million loss

The news comes after trading in company shares was suspended early on 4 September.

"LibertyOne will concentrate on businesses that are capable of delivering a return to shareholders in a reasonably short timeframe," chairman Nicholas Whitlam said. "The board is acting decisively to reposition the company and implement a new, more conservative and accountable regime."

While the company's half year results won't be available until mid-September, Whitlam said he estimates LibertyOne will report a loss of $60 million for the period. LibertyOne had hoped to establish itself as a player in the Asian Internet content and e-commerce market.

In addition to the Zivo Web integration business, which executives claimed was LibertyOne's main source of revenue, the company will continue its joint venture in Monet Asia Pacific. Originally involving another embattled Internet business - eisa - the Monet JV aims to become an ASP for the Asian health market. LibertyOne recently acquired eisa's share.

All other LibertyOne initiatives are now up for sale. Whitlam said the company is in discussion with potential buyers for its investment in Satellite Music Australia and uBid. According to new managing director Marcelle Anderson, "uBid has been LibertyOne's biggest ongoing cash drain". Anderson estimated that it would cost LibertyOne around $6 million to keep uBid going to the end of 2000.

According to Whitlam, offices have been closed in Los Angeles and Malaysia and 33 positions have been cut since the end of June. Staff numbers now stand at 12. Current cash reserves for the company are $4.5 million - sufficient, executives claim, to keep the business running until the end of the year.

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Deanne McIntosh

PC World

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