uBid calls it quits

uBid Australia will shut up shop on October 6, folding operations due to depleting cash reserves and its parent company, LibertyOne's, sole focus on Web-integration business Zivo and foreign investment opportunities.

Garrie Massie, outgoing uBid managing director, issued customers an e-mail last Friday announcing LibertyOne's online auction arm would cease trading this Friday. All Web sites will shut down on October 27, Massie said.

40 staffers (management and customer support) were also laid off last Friday, according to Marcel Anderson, LibertyOne's chief executive. The e-tailer will be handed back to uBid headquarters in the US on October 29 through a settlement which will save LibertyOne estimated cash burn of $6 million, she said.

"The only reason [uBid is closing] is that LibertyOne doesn't have the capacity to grow the business in Australia," Anderson said.

"uBid was a growing business but it needed considerable sums of cash to keep it growing here and in Asia. We needed to focus on investing in joint ventures," she explained, citing LibertyOne's recent 49 per cent joint venture with Monet Asia Pacific, and a renewed focus on the Zivo subsidiary.

What remains of uBid's infantry, mostly computers and PC peripherals, will be auctioned on October 6, the final day of trading.

A customer service team of six will remain until October 27 to field any queries.

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