Halsey Minor, the CNET Networks founder who sold the company for $1.8 billion five years ago, filed for bankruptcy to liquidate his assets and pay his creditors

CNET Founder Minor Files for Bankruptcy After Selling Art

Halsey Minor, the CNET Networks Inc. (3549162Q) founder who sold the company for $1.8 billion five years ago, filed for bankruptcy to liquidate his assets and pay his creditors.

The Chapter 7 petition filed May 24 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles listed assets of as much as $50 million and debt of as much as $100 million. In Chapter 7, a U.S. Trustee, or sometimes a judge, appoints an impartial trustee to administer the case and sell assets such as automobiles.

Minor, 47, sold CNET to CBS Corp. (CBS) in 2008. His Minor Ventures invested in early-stage technology startups including GrandCentral Communications Inc., which Google Inc. (GOOG) bought in 2007 for about $65 million and renamed Google Voice.Since then, Minor has been selling his art collection to pay debts. In 2010, he sold a painting of a blue-eyed nurse by Richard Prince and an aluminum couch by Marc Newson to help raise $21.1 million for his creditors. Proceeds from the sales went toward a $21.6 million judgment obtained in October 2009 by ML Private Finance, a Bank of America Corp. affiliate, on a delinquent loan.

In April 2010, Sotheby’s Inc. won a $6.6 million judgment against him in connection with three artworks he bought at auction and later refused to pay for.

Minor didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the Los Angeles filing.

‘Financial Risk’

“I love being an entrepreneur even though it involves financial risk,” Minor, a native of Charlottesville, Virginia, said in an e-mailed statement cited by his hometown’s Daily Progress newspaper. “But if you win some you are going to lose some too.”

“A case might have been made that I should never have strayed from technology,” Minor said in the e-mail, according to the Daily Progress. “However, I like doing things outside my comfort zone, and I believe that willingness in part accounts for my tech successes.”

In February 2008, Architect magazine reported that Minor had bought the Carter’s Grove Plantation from Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for $15.3 million. The 400-plus acre estate, with a mile of frontage on the James River, was at one time a museum. Its 12-bedroom Georgian mansion was built for Carter Burwell in the 1750s. The magazine said Minor planned to raise racehorses on the property.

Carter’s Grove

Carter’s Grove filed for bankruptcy protection in San Francisco in 2011, according to Minor’s petition. The case later was transferred to the Eastern District of Virginia. Minor put Minor Family Hotels LLC into bankruptcy in 2010 and the case is pending in the Western District of Virginia, according to court papers.

Creditors listed in the Los Angeles filing include Sotheby’s, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Ship Art International and AVN Air LLC, as well as several law firms.

Minor also listed Claiborne Farm, Lanes End Stallions, KESMARC Kentucky and Braeburn Training Center among his creditors. Amounts owed to each creditor weren’t disclosed.

“No funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors,” according to the petition.

The case is In re Halsey McLean Minor, 13-bk-23787, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Dawn McCarty in Wilmington at dmccarty@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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