It’s the End of the Road for

[London, ENGLAND] has been consigned to Dotcom Graveyard
by its parent in a cost-cutting exercise aimed at protecting
the core U.S. business.

The sudden closure of the U.K. site has come as a shock to the
64 employees, including Nils Pratley, editor, who had previously
resigned his post on national newspaper “Sunday Business” to join

The cost-cutting does not stop with the closure of,
but will continue until’s workforce has been reduced
by 20 percent. Other measures include winding down a joint venture
newsroom with The New York Times by the end of this month.

Thomas J. Clarke, chief executive of, warned that
in today’s environment dotcoms have two clear choices. They must
either chart a direct path to profitability or shut down.

“We’re in this for the long haul. And to go the distance, we must
operate at peak efficiency while continually exploring ways to
grow top-line revenue.”

The burn-rate at was said to be in the region
of a half-million dollars a month, the site having gobbled nearly
US $14 million since its February launch. It was, however, also
earning substantial advertising revenues and getting extra
revenue from other sources such as syndication., which owned 63 percent of,
was unable to come to an agreement with the other investors
about the site’s future. According to reports, venture capitalists
led by Chase Capital Partners and Barclays Private Equity were
willing to put in more money, but wanted a larger
share of the equity than would accept.

The U.S. firm will purchase the 2.55 million shares held by
the other investors for an aggregate consideration of $3 million
in cash and 1.25 million shares of’s common stock. is also expected to incur a one-time discontinued
operations charge of between $6 million and $8.5 million.

The demise of is part of a worrying trend,
reported by this week in
: Dot-Com Shutdowns Are Accelerating
Since October, 45 online operations have closed, including,,, and

Thomas J. Clarke said it was never easy to shut down a company,
especially a fledgling one like

“We applaud what was accomplished there by the entire U.K. team. The
site was growing but, with projected future losses at an estimated
US $16 million, it couldn’t grow fast enough to meet our profitability

At the end of its third quarter this year, still had
US $90 million in the bank, slightly less than the value of the
entire company, worth around US $85.5 million at a share price of
just over US $3.

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