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Rare Exits Internet Services Business

By @NY Staff

Rare Medium Group, one of Silicon Alley's high-flying Internet services and venture investing outfits during the dot-com heyday, has exited the professional services business.

In a two paragraph announcement, the New York-based Rare Medium said it sold off its remaining business services assets and also completed the sale of its LiveMarket subsidiary.

With its stock price hovering around 40 cents, its plans to merge with wireless services firm Motient Corp. scratched, and many shareholders in a state of revolt against the directors, the company has been in the process of unwinding and selling off parts of its services and venture investing businesses.

The release provided no details about who bought the assets and the price. Repeated calls to the company were not returned by press time.

On Tuesday, Milpitas, Calif-based Pacific Magtron International Corp. announced it had aquired "certain assets" of LiveMarket Inc. for an undisclosed amount of cash.

The purchase included LiveMarket's software products and other tangible and intangible assets necessary to operate the LiveMarket software. The company said PMI Capital also hired LiveMarket's nine employees and planned to keep the name of the business the same. LiveMarket had been one of the portfolio companies in Rare Medium's venture group.

Although Rare said it would retain a minority stake in the group that purchased the services business, the transaction likely leaves it as little more than a shell company, which would bring it full circle. Rare Medium Group originated from the shell assets of a former air conditioner company.

Rare also said it plans to write off all goodwill and leasehold improvements related to the services business and adjust property and equipment to its net realizable value.

The sales also follow Rare's announcement earlier in this month to call off its $125 million merger with Motient Corp. , which they attributed to increasing concerns over both companies' fiscal health.

Rare had previously agreed to provide Motient with a $50 million loan to essentially help the Reston, Va.-based firm buy Rare.

In other Rare-related announcements, the firm on Oct. 19th said it had joined a joint venture called Mobile Satellite Ventures.

MSV is a satellite communications joint venture that plans to integrate the satellite operations of Motient Corp with those of TMI Communications and Co., which is a subsidiary of Canada-based BCE, Inc.

Rare said the formation of MSV, which it announced in January of this year, is awaiting regulatory approvals from US and Canadian authorities.

A newly formed subsidiary of Rare Medium Group, Inc. would lead the investors in purchasing $55 million of subordinated convertible notes of MSV, Rare said in a press release.

In the meantime, both Rare and Motient are working out their debt deals. Motient said it has repaid Rare roughly $26.2 million, including interest, of the $50 million loan it made to it.

The company is expected to release third quarter results on Nov. 14th.