Lante Completes $5.2M Cash Purchase Of Luminant Assets

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Lante, an e-services company based here, Wednesday said it has completed its acquisition of all major assets of Luminant Worldwide in a $5.2 million cash deal.

That price tag is $2.2 million more than originally agreed upon by the two companies due to "interest from other parties during competitive bidding within the bankruptcy process," Lante said. Luminant, an e-services company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the close of market on Dec. 7.

The $5.2 million price , approved by the bankruptcy court, provides Lante with Luminant's assets, including client contracts and relationships, intellectual property, software assets and other tangible. Lante, currently free from debt, used about 8 percent of its $64 million in cash and short-term investments to finance the deal, a company spokesperson said.

In addition, Lante agreed to purchase select accounts receivable balances from Luminant for about $3.5 million in cash. A high percentage of these balances are with continuing clients and represent amounts that are less than 90 days old, according to company information from Lante.

Global 2000 clients that come with the deal include British Petroleum, Dr. Pepper, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard and Maybelline. Lante expects Luminant's client projects and relationships to generate between $5 million to $7 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2002.

Lante CEO Rudy Puryear characterized the deal as a focused acquisition. In a statement, Puryear said he expects the deal to bolster Lante's business partner integration strategy, giving Lante access to coveted client relationships and extend the company's geographic reach.

While Lante indicated the initial number of billable consultants that received employments offers is closely tied to Luminant's backlog and projected revenue, there is no locked number of billable staff to be hired as part of the deal, the company said. More details are expected during Lante's fourth-quarter earnings call scheduled for Jan. 23.

Luminant last reported having 648 employees, but has cut a significant number of its staff in recent months due to deepening losses. The most recent layoff, of 90 employees, occurred in early November. In addition to its Houston headquarters, Luminant has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Washington and Seattle.

Nasdaq halted trading on shares of Luminant on Dec. 10 and reported the company's shares last traded at 12 cents per share, close to its 52-week low of 10 cents per share.

Lante closed Tuesday trading at $1.40 per share and that price remained unchanged midday Wednesday, following the announcement.

Jim Corey, CEO of Luminant, previously characterized the buyout by Lante as the most prudent step for creditors, clients, alliance partners and employees. He said the decline in client demand accelerated following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the company's already thin cash position and heavy debt load could not withstand the combination of internal and external factors.

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