Commerce One cuts staff, considers selling assets

Struggling software vendor, Commerce One, has cut 40 per cent of its staff and hired a bank to explore the company's options, including a sale of some or all of its businesses.

The company's grim news came late last week as it announced its third-quarter results, which included a 78 per cent decline in revenue, from $US23.4 million in last year's third quarter to $5.7 million in this year's. Services revenue contributed most of that total, with software license fees bringing in $906,000.

Commerce One laid off 80 employees, leaving it with 116. It also placed non-essential employees on a two-week furlough last month.

At its peak, Commerce One had 3700 employees and $US400 million in annual revenue. But the nine-year-old company never reached profitability, and has changed business models several times since going public in 1999. The company initially focused on creating online business-to-business trading exchanges, but after dot-com enthusiasm for such markets faded, Commerce One shifted its focus to software development. Its current flagship product is a "composite process management" system for integrating applications and business processes throughout a network of customers, vendors and suppliers.

Investment bank, Broadview International, is working with Commerce One on evaluating the company's options, including raising additional investment cash or selling assets. Meanwhile, Commerce One is hunting for a new auditor. The company's current accounting firm, Ernst & Young, handed in its resignation notice in mid-October, effective once it finishes reviewing Commerce One's third-quarter regulatory filing.

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