PCAuction makes bold comeback

PCAuction makes bold comeback

Online auction house PCAuction has risen from the rubble of the Mercury Group collapse, with new investors, a new Web site and new services for the channel.

Formed by former Toshiba executives Aaron Blackman and Rick Chandra, the Mercury Group took an equity position in the company, providing capital and logistics infrastructure. PCAuction was ranked number three out of more than 25 auction sites in Australia, according to Internet monitoring company Hitwise. However, the business went horribly awry when divisions within the Mercury Group failed to perform and administrators were called in.

For more than a month, the PCAuction site has been unable to accept orders or ship products to customers, but the company has now dissociated itself from the Mercury Group. Blackman and Chandra have set up a new operation in North Sydney.

The re-launch brings the venture capital division of Marshall Holdings on board. The company, which owns Sportscraft and runs a commercial property development division, is not heavily involved in the IT sector, but its investment will help the site expand its inventory levels and services.

"We have new investors, a new ownership structure and much deeper pockets to grow the business and acquire large volumes of aged inventory," said Blackman. "We have built a completely new Web site, which is far more functional than the old one."

Like its predecessor, the new site sources aged or "distressed" inventory from vendors and sells it to end users via an online auction. Blackman and Chandra are planning to grow customer registrations from 26,000 to 70,000 over the next 12 months. They also want to extend the model to help the channel by allowing distributors to use the site as an auction clearance service for the distressed stock, a strategy that has already garnered a lot of interest from distributors.

"Most distributors send out an e-mail to their resellers to flush their stock. We will run online auctions for the distributors as a co-branded, use-it-when-you-need-it facility."

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