SAN JOSE, Calif. – Internet commerce provider Beyond.com is heading into the great beyond, announcing Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will sell its assets to Digital River Inc. for just $11 million.
Launched in 1994, Santa Clara-based Beyond.com once focused on selling software downloads to consumers and businesses.
It drew attention during the height of Internet mania with ads featuring naked people at work. Its CEO went on CNBC in his boxer shorts to make the point that the Internet lets people conduct business from home.
But the company was forced to scale back as the dot-com bubble began to pop in 2000, and focused instead on setting up online stores for other businesses and selling software to government agencies.
After losing $224 million from its inception through the end of 2000, Beyond saw its fortunes sink even more last year — losing $87.8 million, a whopping $27.08 per share, on revenue of $61.2 million in the first three quarters.
Despite a 1-for-15 reverse stock split engineered last summer to boost the company's share price, the stock was trading at 79 cents, down from a 52-week-high of $15, when the Nasdaq Stock Market halted its trading Friday.
Digital River, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., also handles Internet commerce for other companies. It plans to buy Beyond's assets and customer contracts for $3.5 million in cash and $7.5 million in stock, and will give Beyond $1.5 million more if certain performance objectives are met. The deal must be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.
Beyond.com spokesman Jim Campbell refused to say how many employees the company has or what would happen to them. The company had nearly 100 employees in Santa Clara and Reston, Va., as of November, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Digital River shares rose $1, or 5 percent, to close at $21.33 on the Nasdaq.