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Napster up for auction

How the mighty have fallen: from 60m users to over $60m in debt

If you have a spare $25m (about £19.6m) in the bank then you might fancy bidding for the remaining assets of failed music swapping site Napster.

Trenwith Securities, Napster's creditors, which has been working hard to drum up interest in the fallen company, today put the remaining assets up for auction. The asking price: $25m; the deadline for bid: 21 August.

It is likely that German publishing giant Bertelsmann will scoop up the assets, as it has already lent Napster around $85m to finance restructuring following its recent application for bankruptcy protection.

This makes Bertelsmann one of Napster's biggest creditors.

The company has already promised to increase its bid by $9m, taking it to well over the $100m mark (including the $85m loan).

But if the bankruptcy judge decides to disregard the loan, then the assets could be sold for just $25m, putting Bertelsmann back in the queue of out-of-pocket creditors.

Whatever the new owner decides to do with the assets it is likely that a successor would run a subscription-based service, being careful not to infringe any music copyright agreements as Napster did to its cost.

At its height, Napster had more than 60 million users.


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