After more than a month existing on a shoestring and a prayer, award-winning online news service APBNews.com received a breath of hope Monday morning.
In an internal memo, Chief Operating Officer Mark Sauter told APB’s “skeleton crew” that Waltham, Mass.-based SafetyTips.com has offered $950,000 for APB’s assets.
“On Sept. 1st, APB will either be sold to a company named SafetyTips.com or auctioned off to a higher bidder during a hearing of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court here in New York City,” Sauter wrote.
The future of APB had been languishing in uncertainty since June, when the news service failed to secure third round financing. It was forced to declare that it had run out of money and fired all 140 of its reporters. However, a group of volunteers kept the site afloat until enough funding was secured to rehire a skeleton staff. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July with more than $8 million in debts and a host of creditors.
According to Sauter, SafetyTips aims to be the comprehensive safety resource for companies and consumers. “They also provide safety Intranets for companies and consumers,” Sauter wrote. “SafetyTips has two highly impressive backers — Apollo Management, the large fund, and Rare Medium, the Internet services company.”
Nancy Daniel, of SafetyTips.com, said the company’s interest in APB isn’t hard to understand.
“We’re young, we launched in June 2000,” she said. “Content is what’s going to help us accelerate our growth. We couldn’t have picked a better resource than APBNews.”
The deal and the price must still be approved by the bankruptcy court and, as Sauter noted, is subject to higher and better offers. Still, SafetyTips has filed documents in federal court agreeing to loan APB “debtor-in-possession” financing which will allow APB to continue operating through the sale.
“Bottom Line: The future of APB will be decided in the next couple weeks,” Sauter wrote. “It is our obligation to secure the best possible return for our creditors and — if possible — our shareholders. It is our hope that the purchaser of APB will see the value in preserving our remarkable brand and its reputation for excellence.”
APB’s staff was very pleased with the announcement according to Joe Krakoviak, a spokesman with the company.
“We are extremely excited and gratified at this recognition of the value of APBNews.com,” he said.