Zilingo's board to weigh options including liquidation or buyout

Zilingo's co-founder Dhruv Kapoor briefly made the pitch for a buyout, a surprise, last-minute development. PHOTO: ZILINGO

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Zilingo's board of directors is weighing options for the embattled Singapore start-up after a financial adviser to the company said liquidation is the most viable solution and its co-founder presented an 11th-hour pitch for a management buyout.

The board members met on Monday (June 20) to hear the alternatives, including a presentation from adviser Deloitte to sell off the company's assets, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Co-founder Dhruv Kapoor briefly made the pitch for a buyout, a surprise, last-minute development, said the sources, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.

The board meeting ended without a decision on Zilingo's fate, they said.

Directors will consider Deloitte's findings as well as the new management buyout proposal, and they are trying to set a date for a new gathering.

Zilingo and Deloitte representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Kapoor proposed the buyout to the Singapore-based company's board late on Sunday.

He has secured commitments from a small group of new investors including a United States private equity firm, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.

The offer detailed plans for the investor group to inject US$8 million (S$11.1 million) in new equity in a newly incorporated entity in tranches, while the remaining assets and the old corporate entity would be liquidated in due course.

Ms Ankiti Bose, the start-up's ousted chief executive, endorsed Mr Kapoor's preliminary proposal minutes after it was sent out to existing shareholders.

In her e-mail, as seen by Bloomberg News, Ms Bose urged investors to see beyond their "personal differences" and support the initiative.

Allegations of financial irregularities in March prompted an investigation into Zilingo, valued at US$970 million in 2019, and led to the dismissal of co-founder Ms Bose as CEO in May.

Her ouster plunged the once high-flying start-up into crisis and sent shock waves through South-east Asia and India's technology industry.

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