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Friday, 31 May 2013 11:19

CNET founder crashes

Written by Nick Farrell



Bankrupted by lifestyle and daft investments

It could happen to anyone, well not us of course, but the bloke who made millions out of flogging CNET during the dotcom boom is now bankrupt. Halsey Minor, 48, founded CNET, a television network and web brand focused on software and technology, in 1994. He flogged CNET to CBS in 2008 for a reported $1.8 billion.

He had some other successes too. He was an early investor in OpenDNS. He also Pumped $6 million into a voice over internet startup called Grand Central that would later be purchased by Google, and turned into Google Voice, for $50 million in 2007. Minor also did really well investing in Salesforce.com, a company that provides cloud computing solutions.

But he made a few dodgy investments which were well out of his sphere of knowledge and appears to have come unstuck. A real estate investment, a Los Angeles home he paid $20 million for in 2006, was later put on the market for just over $11 million. He lost $50 million in a divorce settlement with wife Deborah. He lost $21.6 million in the Charlottesville Landmark Hotel failure. He also bought the historic James River Estate for $35 million in 2007 and it stood empty and in disrepair for years until preservationists successfully got the crumbling mansion placed at auction in 2013.

Then there was the folly of a replica of living quarters at the palace of Versailles in France, Minor also bought the $21 million San Francisco mansion in 2007, but neither he nor his family ever occupied it He also wasted fortunes on fine art. The city of San Francisco would find site the 22-room building as abandoned, due to its state of disrepair, by 2011.

Minor has since filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and cites liabilities of $50 million to $100 million to 60 creditors, while claiming personal assets of between $10 million and $50 million.

Nick Farrell

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