Middleton-based Alice.com is closed -- at least for now -- and under receivership [The Wisconsin State Journal]
(Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 04--Middleton e-commerce retailer Alice.com has closed operations and is under a court-appointed receivership, a state process similar to filing for federal bankruptcy.
Alice.com, started in 2009 by serial entrepreneurs Brian Wiegand and Mark McGuire, sold household packaged goods, such as laundry detergent and toothpaste. The company merged with a Spanish online retailer in 2011, and Wiegand said in an email Friday, he and McGuire left their leadership roles in early 2012.
At the time of the 2011 merger, Alice.com had 30 employees at its offices at 8215 Greenway Blvd. and 40 at a warehouse in Indianapolis -- where the goods sold were distributed -- and worked with more than 400 consumer products companies, Wiegand said then. Internet Retailer, an e-commerce business information website, listed Alice.com's annual sales at $14.1 million at that time.
When the business halted operations in late August, it had seven employees in Middleton and fulfillment operations were no longer handled by the company itself, said attorney Paul Wrycha, a partner at Foley & Lardner who represented Alice.com and its holding company in court.
"The company was in need of additional capital to finance its ongoing operation. It wasn't able to successfully raise the capital from investors. This was our last resort," Wrycha said.
The Alice.com website says: "The site is currently unavailable" and directs questions about previous orders to email@example.com.
Both Alice.com and its parent company, Alice.com Holdings, filed papers in Dane County Circuit Court on Aug. 19 seeking receivership proceedings, and Michael Polsky, of Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky law firm in Milwaukee, was appointed receiver.
"The company chose this process so that somebody could oversee the sale of the company's assets with court supervision. It would be an opportunity for all of the different creditors to assert claims," Polsky said Tuesday.
The holding company lists assets of $7.3 million and liabilities of $6.3 million, but the court filing says the fair value of the assets is less than the value of the liabilities.
Alice.com, in a separate filing, lists assets of $1.4 million plus its intellectual property, and liabilities of more than $7.5 million, with most of that owed to the holding company.
Circuit Judges John Albert and Juan Colas approved the receiverships.
Polsky said there are prospective buyers, and it is possible a buyer could put Alice.com back in business. "We're actively marketing the assets of the business," he said.
The company has "many, many owners" in the U.S. and Spain, Polsky said. Wiegand and McGuire were still among the owners, Wiegand said.
Alice.com was the fourth online business for Wiegand and the third for McGuire. Before Alice.com, they sold Jellyfish.com to Microsoft in 2007 for a reported $50 million.
Both entrepreneurs have now moved on to other endeavors. Wiegand started Hopster.com, an online company that offers coupons and rewards to consumers, and McGuire is a co-founder of Nextt, a startup aimed at helping people plan offline activities with their friends through online connections.
(c)2013 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
Visit The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.) at www.wisconsinstatejournal.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]