dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Egghead.com Scrambling But Not Fried

Egghead.com, the bankrupt Menlo Park, Calif.-based e-tailer that suspended all operations on Oct. 28, says it is continuing discussions "with several interested parties who are intent on re-activating an Egghead Web site and once again operating the business."

Egghead.com filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 15, saying at the time that it had reached an agreement to sell its core assets to Fry's Electronics, which just completed picking up another distressed Internet retailer, Outpost.com.

But Egghead.com CEO Jeff Sheahan told InternetNews.com that Fry's in essence "breached its contract" to buy Egghead's operation, adding that Fry's is facing a lawsuit as a result.

"We noticed a marked change in their behavior after they announced the Outpost deal," Sheahan said in a telephone interview. He said Fry's breached the terms of the contract, and of course, "they said vice versa."

In any case, when the sale to Fry's went south, Egghead tried to keep running "in maintenance mode," but "without another deal on the horizon, we had to shut down," he said.

But efforts to put Egghead back in business continue.

"We're evaluating bids (from potential buyers) now as we speak, plus selling a few other pieces and parts," Sheahan said, emphasizing the value of the brand. "We were getting 80,000 unique visitors to our Web site up until we closed -- that's 17 years of brand building, you couldn't spend enough money to make that happen again."

Sheahan said that the interested parties want to acquire the brand name and its valuable customer list, and probably operate the site on their own technology platform.

He said Egghead has a list of four million customers, and 1.4 million of them were active within the past two years.

NASDAQ suspended trading of Egghead stock on Aug. 15, when the bankruptcy case was filed. Egghead Software began in 1984 as a retail storefront for computer software, which grew quickly to an extensive chain with more than 205 stores nationwide. In response to market changes, the company moved its business to the Internet in 1998, re-emerging as Egghead.com.