Employees in Agony as Askme adjourns operations. AskMe, consumer internet search platform forced to suspend its operations due to severe cash crunch, laying of its remaining staff.
According to people close to the development, the step was taken as the primary investor parted ways from the company. Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan-led Astro Holdings exited AskMe Group, in which it owns 97% stake, after a lingered clash with minority shareholders. Astro Holdings made its last cash investment of around Rs 150 crore last month.
“Astro is pulling out of all business and its investments in India because of the political and legal issues. AskMe Group has made a management buyout bid and leadership team is working towards taking over the company.” said Manav Sethi, AskMe Group CMO as he talked a feasible buyout. It was like adding fuel to the fire when Astro backed out from a supposed MBO (Management Buyout) scheduled at the end of July.
The shutdown seems to be the appropriate solution as the company faced a deadlock since it could not raise money from any other investor to clear off the dues and continue the business. AskMe, in a recent letter written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Registrar of Companies has asked them to ensure that Astro does not exit the country without meeting its liabilities and commitments.
This unplanned shutdown has affected more than 4,000 employees, vendors and other creditors. The resignations from more than 650 of its employees, who had annual salary packages between Rs 2.5 lakh to 6 lakh was a showcase of company’s deep trouble.
AskMe, the flagship product from Getit Infomedia, launched in 2010 acquired by Network18(in 2013) was one stop destination to find information related to anything and everything; be it restaurants, travel, matrimony, jobs, education, mobile, gadgets, etc. It also diversified into hyperlocal space with AskMebazaar’s next day delivery capability and in the fintech space with AskMePay’s AskMeFin. In the recent developments, it had acquired online grocery marketplace BestAtLowest.com.
Article Source : TOI Tech