Once Heartily Jeered Luminant to Sell All Assets

Newly-bankrupt Luminant Worldwide Corp. — the high-tech
consulting firm held up for mockery by a writer who
posed as a junior project manager at the company’s New York City office and
scribed a piece about his adventure for The New
Yorker
magazine — agreed to sell its assets to rival Lante Corp.
Monday.


Houston-based Luminant, or what’s left
of it
from restructuring and last week’s filing for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection, will receive about $3 million for its client
relationships and contracts, intellectual property and software
from Chicago’s Lante.


In what is perhaps a bit of understatement, Luminant Chief Executive Officer
Jim Corey said the high-tech consulting market “has
been extremely difficult this year” and noted that business for such
services slowed to a crawl after September 11th.


“This event, coupled with our thin cash position and heavy debt load made
this asset sale the most prudent step for our creditors,
clients, alliance partners and employees,” Corey said.


Rudy Puryear, Lante’s president and CEO, said the deal fits his outfit’s
business partner integration strategy, something that has
been rampant in online consulting circles nationwide. Note, the recent cases
of consulting stalwarts Organic,
Agency.c
om
and iXL,
which merged
with Scient.


In a public statement, Lante said it will extend employment offers to
Luminant personnel who are necessary to serve clients. The
agreement is subject to court approval and closing is expected to occur in
early 2002.


One year ago last week, Luminant drew jeers from hecklers after a story
written by one Rodney Rothman, a former head writer of “Late
Show With David Letterman”, pegged the firm as a typical high-flying
dot-com, replete with on-site massages, yoga and various other
perks prevalent in New Economy businesses. Unfortunately for both Luminant
and the high-brow literary magazine it appeared in,
The New Yorker the story, while it detailed true occurrences and
situations over a 17-day period, was rooted in deception;
Rothman was not an employee of the firm, although he posed as a junior project
manager.


In a company-wide e-mail later posted to a message board on thevault.com,
Jim Corey, chief executive officer of Luminant, wrote:
“The author of the story was clearly deceptive in posing as an employee, and
worked to gain access to the building by following
persons with key cards and providing vague and false information to
employees. We will be seeking the advice of our legal counsel on
how, if at all, we should respond to this incident. If it turns out that the
company was Luminant, I’d like to know if he took
anything from our offices, interfered with our work in any way or harassed
any of our employees.”


The whole fiasco left both Luminant and The New Yorker, which were
ridiculed for lax security and fact-checking,
respectively, with egg on their faces.

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