Collapsed online retailer Boo.com will spend the weekend trying to secure a buyer, but there will be no shortage of demand for its staff if it fails.
In a statement issued this afternoon, KPMG liquidator Mick McLoughlin said he had received "several millions in deposits" from parties interested in purchasing all or some of the company. Interested parties were asked to put refundable £1m deposits on the table by the end of today.
"We are spending the weekend in talks with these interested parties and I hope to find a suitable purchaser for the Boo.com business," said McLoughlin. "If a sale is to be achieved it is imperative that it is reached as soon as possible as there are no funds for a prolonged litigation process."
Boo called in the liquidators earlier this week after its funds dried up and investors refused to inject any more cash.
Whoever eventually takes over the e-tailer in whatever form will benefit from staff that seem to have enhanced their market value through their association with Boo.
The company's website, criticised for being late and too hi-tech, has provided its technical team with the perfect showcase for their talents. In fact, recruitment consultants say that being part of such a high-profile failure may improve their job prospects.
Andrew Swift, joint managing director of recruitment specialist Price Jamieson New Media, said: "We've a number of clients who've been following Boo's progress for some time and their interest has been sharpened considerably precisely because the staff have been through a startup failure - and I haven't seen that in 20 years of work in recruitment.
"Potential employers believe that Boo's staff will have gained valuable experience through their time with the retailer."
Although this may seem bizarre, it seems less strange given that US research indicates that of the 30,000 major business websites targeting consumers, five out of six are expected to run out of money before the end of this year. Experienced and talented staff are at a premium compared with the funds available for investment.
While Boo's profile among its contemporaries is high, new owners will have to recognise that the name is not well known in the real world. According to a survey conducted last month by e-Mori, less than one in seven (13 per cent) of web users had heard of the e-tailer. And with those not yet online, the company's profile was just one per cent.
Only 18 per cent of Boo's target group of 15 to 29-year-old internet users are aware of the brand. Among those in this age group who do not have access to the internet, this figure drops to just three per cent. Boo's brand recognition figures have to be seen as particularly disappointing given its lavish marketing campaign.
Analysts say that the company's spectacular spending will have a direct impact on European business-to-consumer websites, which will be required to evaluate and justify such expenditure in much more detail in he future.
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