Brokat shuts shop for good

With the sale of its remaining core business in electronic banking software, Brokat AG, a one-time shining star of Germany's New Economy, is calling it quits.

The electronic banking business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Eastern Europe will be sold to Munich-based software company DataDesign AG. Brokat's e-banking software allows banks and financial houses to offer their customers services such as account maintenance and electronic payments via the Web, wireless devices and mobile phones, or call centers.

The deal is to be finalized by Jan. 15, and the parties have agreed to remain silent on the purchase price, DataDesign said in a statement. DataDesign will carry on business at the former Brokat Stuttgart location, keeping on some 40 employees.

With the deal, Brokat has nearly wrapped up the job of selling off all remaining assets, said spokeswoman Katrin Gebert.

"What's left is essentially the businesses in the U.K. and Scandinavia, and we're in negotiations (with potential buyers) over those now," she said.

Brokat has already sold much of its business in an effort to meet crushing debt obligations, leaving only its core European banking software operation. The company initiated insolvency proceedings on Dec. 3.

DataDesign is promising Brokat clients that its immediate goal is to ensure continued customer support. Brokat's customers have included Deutsche Bank 24 AG and Union Bank of California NA.

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