Impower Files for Chapter 11

Blaming the economic downturn, Internet marketing firm Impower, which was spun off from American List Counsel in 1999, filed for Chapter 11 protection last week.

The filing will allow Impower, Princeton, NJ, to operate in the normal fashion under court protection while the company restructures and talks to major creditors. The filing was with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey.

“The combination of a general economic downturn, a softening advertising environment, the demise of pure-play Internet customers and the company's infrastructure all contributed to the need for the filing,” the company said in a statement. “The company expects to have sufficient liquidity throughout the period of reorganization,” getting financing from an outside investor.

Impower “believes that the financing package will enable Impower to ensure prompt payment of its post-petition obligations … and maintain uninterrupted distribution of its products and services,” the statement said. The company intends to ask the bankruptcy court “for authority to settle pre-petition claims of certain critical list owners and trade vendors.”

Sources outside the company said Impower was struggling to pay vendors hundreds of thousands of dollars for services already completed. Impower's staff is down more than 50 percent, from a high of 100 just a few months ago. Several other staffers jumped ship for other list companies, including Mark Zilling, who was vice president of business-to-business markets, and five others who started working for MeritDirect, Stamford, CT, last week.

Datamark Technologies Inc., a loyalty card subsidiary, will continue day-to-day operations unaffected, the company said.

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