Itemus files for bankruptcy

Yet another dot-com startup has seemingly bitten the dust. itemus inc. announced Tuesday that all its directors have resigned and it will officially file for bankruptcy.

A. Farber & Partners Inc. will act as trustee for Toronto-based itemus, founded little over a year ago, after turning away from its original mining industry focus.

itemus was a combination of operations and technology advisor that helped organizations manage devise business models for the Internet. Some of its subsidiary companies include Digital 4Sight (digital economy consulting), NAME (IT developer and integrator), and Shooting Gallery (integrated media company).

In recent weeks, itemus had been undergoing a massive restructuring plan, selling off several of its operating subsidiaries and its minority interests in numerous private companies in a vain attempt to raise capital.

Effective today, all of itemus’ offices – in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa – have ceased operations and most of its estimated 385 employees worldwide have been let go, said Michael O’Connor Clarke, spokesperson for itemus.

“There are still people working for some of the subsidiary companies who are attempting to make alternate arrangements but yes, essentially the company has ceased operations,” said Clarke.

So is this the absolute end for itemus? That remains to be seen, said Clarke.

“It is certainly the end for itemus in terms of what happens to some of the other pieces like Digital 4Sight and NAME – some the teams are trying to make their own arrangements which could take the form of a buyout, but who knows. They’re working with the trustees to figure out what their future looks like,” said Clarke.

The issue now is how this announcement will affect customers. Clients are probably going to look at the trustees for some answers to how their projects will continue, if at all, said Clarke.

Significant clients include Nortel Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Human Resources Development Canada and Merrill Lynch. Most recently, Sympatico-Lycos had selected itemus’ Teamcast Next Generation Solution to enhance its corporate Intranet. Itemus was to provide the Web-based collaborative knowledge management solution to all Sympatico-Lycos employees.

Due to convergence issue with Bell GlobeMedia, Sympatico-Lycos had not implemented the system, said Clive Hobson, a Sympatico-Lycos spokesperson.

There was an agreement, but no monies changed hands up to this point, said Hobson.

“The whole infosharing and intranet capabilities were being re-addressed based on the expansion of the business core group. While it’s regrettable that itemus has gone out of business, it hasn’t had any impact on Sympatico-Lycos,” said Hobson.

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