Ironbridge's Last Ditch Efforts Fail

Any hope of salvaging IronBridge Networks Inc. was snuffed out this morning as the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. News of the company's intention to file for bankruptcy came last night, said Doug Antaya, former VP of marketing for Ironbridge, in a voice mail message.

The terabit routing startup laid off nearly 90 percent of its 200 person staff in late January after investors pulled the plug on its funding (see IronBridge Has Fallen Down). A skeleton crew of about 15 to 20 people remained in an attempt to find another investor or sell the company outright. But these last-ditch efforts have finally come up empty.

Unlike Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which simply calls for a reorganization of a company’s finances in an effort to keep it afloat, Chapter 7 calls for the liquidation of all assets -- the debtor gives up control over them and they are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Several companies in the Boston area have already foraged through Ironbridge’s talent pool. Équipe Communications Corp. and other companies even sent recruiters to the company the day employees were leaving (see IronBridge's Loss is Équipe's Gain).

Some competitors have also expressed interest in the 34 patents that the company holds (see Ironbridge 'Sold for Parts'). But these may prove harder to get rid of than the extra laptops and pencil sharpeners. For example, VIPswitch Inc. recently hired six ex-Ironbridge engineers and had looked into buying the patents, but decided against it, according to Yves Hupe, VIP's VP of marketing.

"Without the team to support it, we felt that the intellectual property was worthless," says Hupe. "We don’t have the time to take the software and tweak it for our own product line. We need to move much faster than that."

-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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