RealTime IT News

Webvan Finds a Buyer for Its Tech Platform

Bankrupt Internet grocery company Webvan Group Inc., which has been in the process of liquidating its assets, said today it has sold its technology platform to Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for $2.65 million.

Kaiser also purchased the assets of Webvan's Oakland Distribution Center for approximately $1.4 million and took over Webvan's lease obligation there, eliminating a significant liability.

The company has described its technology as an integrated e-commerce platform that is capable of supporting warehouse management and delivery operations.

"... we see the value of the combined Kaiser package exceeding $5 million to the estate," said Scott McNutt, an attorney with McNutt & Litteneker, counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Webvan bankruptcy proceedings. "As such, this deal represents a significant value for our creditors."

Still, there has been no change in the company's position vis-à-vis shareholders, who were told last August that it doesn't expect to have enough cash to distribute any money to them.

Foster City, Calif.-based Webvan packed it in last July, leaving Peapod and Netgrocer as the major players in the Internet grocery business.

For creditors, today's news was a boon, of course. The transaction included the sale of both the HomeGrocer and Webvan technology platforms, the trademarks, patents, copyrights and the URLs, including both Webvan.com and Homegrocer.com.

"Kaiser clearly saw the value of our technology and the potential that can be realized from the acquisition of our state-of-the-art warehouse," said a Webvan spokesperson.

Webvan also said that the leases for its facilities in Carson, Asuza and Fullerton, Calif. were all assigned to other users. These transactions included the sale of refrigeration equipment; however, all of the conveyor equipment, racking, computer equipment and vehicles remain to be sold in upcoming auctions to be held at each of these facilities.

The complete auction schedule is as follows: Seattle: October 11; San Diego: October 13; Fullerton: October 15; Carson: October 16; Asuza: October 17 and Chicago October 23.

Just yesterday, George Shaheen, the man who left Webvan with one of -- if not the best --severance packages in Internet history (his pension pays him $375,000 a year for life) was named a board member at Closedloop Solutions, a Redwood City, Calif.-based firm that specializes in Web-based applications for chief financial officers and the financial planning sector.