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LocalBusiness.com Shops Assets Online

Hoping to reconcile debts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.- based LocalBusiness.com is shopping its wares over its old Net stomping grounds.

In April, the network of local business news sites that reached 24 U.S. markets, quietly closed its doors and 75 people lost their jobs. The fate of digitalsouth magazine -- its offline property based in Atlanta -- was unclear at the time.

Today, the company confirmed in a prepared statement that it had filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Southern District of Florida on May 2, 2001.

The Chapter 11 filing lists the company as having $2.56 million in total assets and $1.54 million in liabilities.

The creditor list includes L90 Inc. of Los Angeles, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison of Austin, Texas, American Lawyer Media of New York, and Cox Interactive Media of Atlanta.

What's for sale?

In addition to selling small business tools and resources in each local market, including Atlanta, Denver, New York City, and Seattle, assets of LocalBusiness.com include a content archive of more than 48,000 original news stories and company profiles, a VentureTracker database of more than 2,800 private equity-funded companies, and a national E-mail subscriber base totaling more than 100,000 names.

The domain names LocalBusiness.com, digitalsouth.com (LocalBusiness.com's former title) and dbusiness.com are also on the selling block.

A spokesperson for the company said LocalBusiness.com was working on a bid package for interested parties.

"I would like to have definitive offers to take to the court within 30 days," she said.

About 14 employees continue to staff the company Web site and digitalsouth, where the spokesperson said it was "business as usual."

LocalBusiness.com, which competed with Advance Publications and Crain Communications, among others for business readers, updated its sites with breaking news and features focusing on start-ups and emerging companies.

The company also offered a community feel with message boards and other investor tools.

But, as with many media companies, the offline flight of advertisers hurt the ad-supported company that was founded by chairman Edwin Warfield in 1997.

In February, the company tried to right itself by appointing a new CEO, Jane Seagrave. The company said Seagrave was tagged for her experience as president of Legal Communications, Ltd., a Philadelphia-based publishing company, that was acquired by American Lawyer Media in 1998.

Prior to Seagrave's arrival, the company laid off about one-quarter of its 125 employees nationwide and shuttered several offices in December. To stay buoyant, it also announced its intension to sell its TrueAdvantage B2B division, which offered online services to small companies.

LocalBusiness.com's institutional investors include U.S. Equity Partners, L.P., Rustic Canyon Ventures and Tribune Ventures, the strategic investment unit of Tribune Company.