It’s Now Liquid(ate) Audio

The sounds will soon stop flowing from Redwood City, Calif.-based Liquid
Audio following a decision Friday to dissolve the
company, sell its remaining assets and distribute the proceeds to
shareholders.

It’s the final chapter in the ongoing saga at the digital media software
firm, which initially found a buyer for its assets only to have the deal scuttled
by a group of uneasy shareholders.

Now, the company’s board has voted for the complete dissolution of the
company and a cash distribution of $2.50 a share to shareholders of record
December 10. The cash is payable on December 30, the company said.

The company, which markets software that lets users download, listen and
purchase copyright-protected digital media from the Web, will remain
operational while the board looks for a buyer for the remaining assets.

Last month, Liquid Audio and privately-held Alliance Entertainment scrapped
plans for an all-stock
merger
after a significant percentage of Liquid’s shareholders balked at
the price tag.

Because Liquid Audio has a substantial amount of cash reserves, the
shareholders have been pushing for liquidation or an outright sale instead
of a stock-for-stock merger.

Immediately after the deal fell apart, Liquid Audio’s CEO Gerry Kearby quit
the firm.

The company, which competes with digital media powerhouses like Microsoft
and RealNetworks , has already sold
its digital encoding patent rights to Microsoft in a $7 million
cash deal
and it’s not a stretch to imagine the two rival giants will be
picking at Liquid Audio’s bones in the coming weeks.

The company’s most valuable asset is the software targeting content
producers. It lets content owners, Web sites and companies publish,
syndicate and securely sell digital media online with copy protection and
copyright management.

Liquid’s principals could not be reached to discuss details of the sale
plans.

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