Leaving Las Vegas?

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Tech-fest Comdex has got the wobbles, with organiser Key3Media announcing it is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a US$316 million third quarter loss.

Other options being discussed by Key3 include a merger or a sale, as the organisation struggles to free itself from loan burdens and falling attendance at the Comdex shows.

While punters have stayed away following last year's terrorist attacks on the US, vendors are also increasingly avoiding Comdex, either running their own events or holding Comdex sideshow events at nearby hotels.

Key3 booked net loss of US$316 million in the third quarter, compared to US$3.7 million for the same period in 2001. The loss included a one-off US$300 million charge for a reduction in goodwill. Revenue for the quarter dropped to US$38.4 million, down from US$51.5 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

"Key3Media's board of directors has decided the Company cannot continue to operate its businesses in the near term under its existing capital structure and that it would be in the best long-term interests of the holders of the Company's shares and debt obligations to explore a possible restructuring (with or without additional capital), sale, business combination and/or other reorganization transaction which, if consummated, could result in a change of control of the Company," Key3Media said in a statement.

Part of that process may be entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection proceedings.

A decision on such a move will be made after the Comdex show next week.

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