Durham, N.C.-based BuildNet auctioned off its assets late September as part of its bankruptcy proceedings. BuildNet, overburdened with debt after its acquisition spree, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Aug. 8, 2001. It posted certain assets for sale at an auction administered by North Carolina Federal Court.

MH2 Technologies, a provider of Internet-based, job-management tools for homebuilders located in Dallas, acquired a significant portion of BuildNet's assets. Among the items purchased was FAST, considered the most valuable of BuildNet's assets up for auction.

Other items acquired include: Rim Data Systems, which provides integrated solutions for builders; BuildNet trademarks and logos; Netclerk online permit application; BuildNet domain names; trade names; various patents; inventory materials, hardware, supplies, customer lists, supplier and distributor lists; and various software licenses, leases, contracts.

HomeSphere, a Denver-based provider of e-commerce, collaboration, bid-management and buyer incentive programs for the homebuilding industry, bought the builder back-office system BuildSoft, which was once a cornerstone product of BuildNet's. The company's purchase also included several patents and trademarks related to the BuildSoft business, and the registered domain name, Buildsoft.com.

NxTrend returns to former owners

NxTrend Technology, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based provider of business information systems for wholesale distributors, was purchased as a subsidiary of BuildNet in March of 2000.

The company has been operating independently of BuildNet since March of this year. After BuildNet's auction of its assets, the title of all NxTrend assets was returned to NxTrend, formally separating the two firms.

Amid recent rumors that NxTrend was also to be auctioned off, Matt Turner, marketing manager at NxTrend, told Supply House Times that technically the rumor was true.

"We were a secured creditor of BuildNet in bankruptcy," he said. "Technically, we foreclosed on ourselves."

The company essentially bid for itself, Turner explained. Due to the debt BuildNet owed NxTrend from the merger, NxTrend felt confident that no one would be able to match its bid.

NxTrend made this unusual decision to assure its customers of its stability. The company had anticipated the return of the title all along but did not want to wait for the normal title process, which could have taken nine months or more to resolve.

"We anticipated the return of the title and we're pleased to have this behind us," said Michael J. Cornell, president and CEO of NxTrend. "This is really the last piece of the puzzle to shedding all that baggage."

Sidebar: Key events in BuildNet's history

1989: BuildSoft founded by Keith Brown.

1996: BuildSoft becomes BuildNet and expands its software.

1998: Nathan Morton becomes chairman of BuildNet.

1999: Mike Atwood becomes president of the company. Morton becomes chief executive, Brown becomes chairman.

January 2000: BuildNet lands $104.7 million of venture capital. Outside investment totals $143 million.

March 2000: BuildNet files documents in preparation to go public.

April 2000: The stock market starts to dip; investors lose confidence.

October 2000: The company withdraws bid to go public. Atwood leaves.

November 2000: BuildNet lays off 170 of about 1,000 employees.

April 2001: The company lays off another 58 people.

June 2001: BuildNet announces it is being acquired for $35 million by once-smaller competitor HomeSphere.

July 2001: Acquisition falls through.

August 2001: BuildNet cannot work out debt with its creditors. Files for bankruptcy to sell off assets and dissolve.

(provided by The Raleigh-Durham News & Observer)