HP ‘garage' band goes belly-up

Yippee, which was given a flying start through Hewlett-Packard's 'garage' start-up programme, has gone bust.

Yippee, which was given a flying start through Hewlett-Packard’s “garage” start-up programme, has gone bust.

The Auckland-based shareware company received HP Windows NT servers on a delayed payment basis last August, becoming the first New Zealand company to benefit from HP’s plan to help dot-com start-ups. Launched in March 2000, Yippee provides software for download from its websites Yippee and Mambezi, with the aim of attracting traffic. Online advertising, a market which has failed to fire with any real enthusiasm, was its sole source of income.

Yippee also got financial backing from investors Web Media Investments and Keystone Funds No 2, but on June 25 they sent in the receivers to call in debentures worth around $1 million after becoming nervous about Yippee’s lack of revenue.

On June 29 the liquidators were also called in by Yippee’s landlords. Liquidator Peter Clarke of Lay Dodd & Partners says it’s too early to know how much is owed to unsecured creditors.

To complicate matters, the assets of Yippee are also subject to a sales agreement with technology, publishing and hospitality group Wilson Neill.

Yippee began sales talks with Wilson Neill-owned publishing group IT Media in April. The company Flying Pig Trustee had its named changed to Yippee NZ in readiness for the sale.

The new Yippee NZ is now operating with former Yippee staff at IT Media’s offices but the sale is not a done deal. Under a clause of the sales agreement, shareholder approval to buy the shareware company was to have been given on June 4. So far shareholder approval still hasn’t happened.

Receivers Montgomerie and Associates claim the sales agreement has been breached and are investigating taking the matter before the High Court.

IT Media managing direct Tim Connell says shareholder approval will be sought at the next annual general meeting, which he says will happen “shortly”. Shareholder approval is now uncertain because Wilson Neill was subjected to a corporate raid at the end of June. Transram Group — a joint venture between locally registered Genesis International Charitable Trust and Panama-based WeCU — bought 50% of the company, weakening Connell’s position. He owns 30% of the company.

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