APBNews, eParties reduce operations pending bailouts

Two more dot-coms on Monday announced they were reducing operations pending financial bailouts:

  • Gotham-based APBNews.com, a news organization focusing on crime stories and revealing the content of FBI files, laid off 140 employees and announced it was seeking a major investor.

  • Santa Monica-based virtual party planner eParties, the first hatchling to come out of the much-lauded incubator eCompanies, said it is in acquisition talks with an unnamed company and expects a formal takeover announcement by midweek.

The two join the ever-increasing list of ‘Netcos that have faltered in recent weeks, from Netcaster DEN and e-tailer Boo.com to Disney subsid Toysmart.com and online post-production house (and former Netcaster) Load.com.

Market factors

Marshall Davidson, chairman and CEO of APBNews.com, said the whims of the stock market played havoc with the com-pany.

“APB Online was in the midst of its third round of financing in March when the market’s valuation of Internet companies drastically declined,” Davidson said. “Following this downturn was a difficult time to raise capital for most Internet companies, and negotiations with strategic business partners have taken longer than anticipated.”

Party-Toys?

Christian Dunning, a spokesman for eCompanies, would not confirm that eParties is in talks with eToys, an e-tailer which has previously said that it is interested in acquiring party-planning ‘Net companies. Execs with eToys declined to comment.

Dunning said that many of eParties’ 29 workers will continue to be employed under the terms of the proposed acquisition deal, while the rest will remain working within the eCompanies incubator, which has also funded animation site Icebox.com and e-tailer eHobbies.

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