|reply to Badonkadonk |
Re: When did Karl first explain this?
To be honest, I'm not sure it was something that was in the works for long. The impression I got was that, as soon as the stock tanked, EarthLink went on a buying spree. We all came in one morning and found out we were owned by EarthLink. Even our regional VP was unaware. As far as I know, he found out in the same e-mail we got. Given that our stock fell so far in a very short time, I don't think EarthLink had to do much more than wave some cash. From what OneMain was doing (buying small to medium sized ISP's--many serving smaller cities and rural areas--and merging them), it certainly seemed like they were looking to be bought, but I don't think events transpired the way they'd hoped.
But, the thing was, it was obvious EarthLink didn't know much about what they'd bought. True, my ISP was relatively small by their standards, and our business sales division didn't get the raw numbers they did, but we were making some inroads into companies I'm sure they'd love to have now, such as a very large discount retailer everyone loves to hate. I know that one because I sold to them, and I was working directly with their national headquarters' IT department. We were also selling accounts to a decent sized insurance company and several trucking companies, and I'm not talking dialup accounts or DSL here--I mean T1's, ATM, Frame Relay, etc, and we had the people on the ground to configure, install, and support the equipment. But we never got visited once by someone from EarthLink. They just told us to stop selling, first, supposedly in preparation for a new product rollout, then we were told we were being closed down. Had they bothered to ask, I could have told them that the discount retailer sale I mentioned was part of a pilot project that had the potential to go national. I'll bet they still don't know that. Oh well, their loss.
Wow, this all sure brings back some memories. It was quite a ride.
Do you recall the purchase price of your company? I'm just kind of curious how much Earthlink paid, relative to their revenues back then.
We do small deals pretty quickly, but take a long time with the bigger ones. We're pretty conservative and are very thorough with our due diligence. I know that many other companies aren't. And in the go-go days, a lot of those companies closed deals quickly to just get them done without much diligence at all.
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I don't recall, but I'll do some checking when I'm at my computer. I remember that CNET covered it, so I'm sure the info is out there.
But here's a fun fact. The guy who originally started the ISP that he sold to OneMain started a new ISP/telecom company right after we were shut down. Since he was the owner of the building, he just started it in an area not leased to Earthlink. He then hired back about a quarter of the employees (I even worked there for a while until I moved), grabbed a bunch of EarthLink's former local customers, and, as far as I know, the company is still there.
Now THAT'S the guy who made out like a bandit.