Apax to can Beenz?

The internet currency firm is reported to have put itself up for sale though investor Apax would not confirm or deny it is to sell its stake.

Beenz.com, the online incentive firm that created beenz as an internet currency is reported to have put itself up for sale. The firm is backed by Apax Partners and others including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. An Apax spokeswoman could not confirm or deny that Apax is looking to sell its stake in the company.

The spokeswoman said: “Beenz has a good strong cash position. There is a need for consolidation in the sector and now is a good time to consider alliances.”

In a statement, Beenz said: “The company is in discussions with several potential strategic partners, the goal of which is to enable the long-term future and value of the Beenz business.” A spokesman for Beenz would not give any indication of a possible asking price for Beenz or say who the strategic partners are. Sources close to the company though said that the most likely buyer would be an offline incentive company looking for an established online operation.

Beenz was seen as a strong candidate for success in the dotcom sector. CEO Charles Cohen founded the company in 1998 and at its peak in July 2000, Beenz employed 260 people in 13 countries worldwide. Now it has just 80 staff in five countries, with more about to be dismissed in the London office.

Beenz received a total of $80m in funding from an impressive line up of investors including Apax partners, Larry Ellison, Gefinor, Sycamore Ventures, Jellyworks (now part of Shore Capital, an investment boutique) and Viventures. It was notably able to raise half of that amount in summer last year, at a time when most dotcom companies found capital difficult to come by.