It's been a possibility for several years. This week, officials with eMerge Interactive announced they'd pulled the plug on the company, effectively ending a sometimes controversial and troubled existence.
However, company officials say the future is good for CattleLog and VerifEYE, the two business units that operated under the eMerge public shell. Those two businesses will be sold and will continue to operate and grow.
"We're excited about the level of interest we're getting and we feel that all the people we've talked with have the vision to keep the infrastructure in place," says David Warren, eMerge CEO. Warren says they've had discussions with about 14 different companies about CattleLog, their data collection and verification system for cattlemen, and he estimates five or six will be players as the company assets are sold.
Warren says the companies that are interested in both CattleLog and VerifEYE, a packing plant carcass inspection system, are solid companies with the resources to grow the businesses. "With eMerge, we never really had the ability to do that," he says.
In the regulatory environment that surfaced in the wake of the Enron situation, the cost to operate a public company escalated, and cash-strapped eMerge struggled. Officials decided two years ago that unless they could negotiate a merger or strategic alliance, their option was to dissolve the public company and sell the assets. When a promising merger didn't materialize, "the board had a clear choice, and that was to go ahead the follow the plan we had lined out, and that was to find a home for the people, for the businesses and dissolve the public shell." Warren says.
Warren says the only company that will be affected by this week's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will be eMerge, the publicly-traded corporate shell. The company will continue to operate normally during its Chapter 11 proceedings. Warren says CattleLog and VerifEYE will be sold to new owners within the next 45 days.
-- Burt Rutherford