Ibex is being auctioned off after a planned sale of the company fell through earlier this year, according to a report in the Burlington Free Beacon. Bids are due by Thursday for the intellectual property of the White River Junction-based company — its brand, trademarks, domain names and customer databases. The winning bid may be known as early as the following week, according to Ibex CEO Ted Manning.
“I have been pleased with the magnitude of interest we’ve seen in the IP,” Manning told the Free Beacon. “We’ve seen a lot of folks come forth and recognize the value in the brand. Many are in Vermont, many are not.”
Manning said he would like to see Ibex remain “as close to the people and place that birthed it as possible.” Ibex was co-founded in Woodstock in 1997 by John Fernsell, who was CEO until 2013 when Manning, a former executive vice president of Eastern Mountain Sports, took over.
Manning stressed, however, that the priority in the bidding process is to resolve Ibex’s debt and wind down the company with “integrity.” He said Ibex will cease operations sometime in the period from late-January to mid-February.
“We’re operating normally, not in any form of bankruptcy,” Manning said. “The bank never stepped in.”
Last summer, Ibex announced to its retailers across the country that it was abandoning the wholesale channel and would transition to only selling direct to customers. The announcement caused some retailers to cancel their orders. Manning said 60 percent of the company’s sales at the time were already direct-to-consumer.
Ibex laid off 12 workers in November. Manning said about 20 employees remain in and around the operation in Vermont. Three retail stores in Boston, Denver and Seattle are also still operating normally, but will shut down with the rest of the company in late January or early February.