Yazam to stop financing First Tuesday unless a buyer can be found right away - כללי - TheMarker

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Yazam to stop financing First Tuesday unless a buyer can be found right away

Shlomo Kalish confirms the company is seriously considering closing down

Startups launchpad Yazam will be pulling the plug on its British subsidiary First Tuesday unless it finds a buyer immediately, the Sunday Times online Sunday edition reported.

Yazam bought First Tuesday in July 2000 for £33 million, or around $47 million at the time. The company is now asking for half a million pounds, $750,000, for the brand. Its partners are reportedly offering Yazam £250,000 for its investment.

First Tuesday initiates meetings between venture capitalists and startup entrepreneurs on the first Tuesday of every month, in various capitals around the world.

Yazam has found itself in a lot of difficulty recently. In January the company announced the departure of its CEO, Yaacov Ben Yaacov, and its president, Philip Garfinkle. Ten days later it announced the dismissal of a third of its staff. Last week the company's board convened and decided to decide within two weeks whether to shut the company down altogether.

Chairman Shlomo Kalish confirmed to TheMarker.com that Yazam is seriously considering closing up shop. Kalish said the company is looking at alternatives, including a merger between Yazam and another venture capital firm, or a drastic change in business model.

Commenting on reports of pressure from investors to close down and return money, mainly pressure from the main shareholder Texas Pacific Group, Kalish said Yazam had the investors' interests at heart.

"Yazam has four types of shares and different types of investors, which came in at different stages of the company's existence. The board of directors of Yazam, which is an American company incorporated in Delaware, will have to make the right decision to ensure that the interests of all shareholders are protected," Kalish said.

Meanwhile, along with the whole venture capital industry, First Tuesday seemed to be losing its luster. Events initiated by the company grew further apart, and venture capitalists turned up less and less.

First Tuesday's potential buyers may try to make the company more efficient by closing down its London headquarters and running the company through local clubs, something along the lines of the Rotary club.

TPG is the biggest single investor in Yazam, responsible for $35 million of the $60 million Yazam has raised. Other investors include the Carlyle Group, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, China Development Bank, Net2Phone, Michael Schwab's Big Sky Venture Capital, Charles Schwab, Apax Partners & Co. Israel branch, Bank Hapoalim, and Eitan Wertheimer's investment firm, Microdent.


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