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CNET Founder Halsey Minor Bankrupt 5 Years After Firm's $1.8 Billion Sale

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Minor by Darryl Estrine, Corbis
Darryl Estrine, Corbis
In 2008, Halsey Minor sold CNET Networks, the technology media property he founded, to CBS Corp. (CBS) for $1.8 billion. Minor's personal haul was $200 million, according to CNNMoney. Now, just five years later, Minor, 47, has declared bankruptcy, listing debts of up to $100 million and claiming assets of at most half that much.

Minor has filed for Chapter 7 protection, which a bankruptcy lawyer who spoke to Bloomberg said "is clearing the slate":

"He isn't required like Middle America to pay his debts, because they're mostly business-related."

For individuals, Chapter 7 provides a chance to start over, and basically stiffs creditors (of which Minor has 60, The LA Times reports). For businesses or partnerships, on the other hand, no debts are discharged.

This isn't the first time Minor has struggled with financial obligations. Bloomberg reports that Sotheby's (BID) won a $6.6 million judgement against him in April 2010 after he refused to pay for three artworks he bought at auction. He also sold two paintings that year to help pay for a $21.6 million judgement on a delinquent loan from a Bank of America (BAC) affiliate. And Businessweek reported in 1997 that Minor "was on the brink of bankruptcy" four years earlier, in the early stages of CNET's development. $5 million from Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen made the difference back then.

By 2012, The LA Times says, California declared Minor and his wife to be the state's top income-tax delinquents, with an unpaid bill of $10.5 million.

Minor blames his financial downfall on speculation outside the tech industry, which he calls his "comfort zone." In addition to art, he invested heavily in real estate, hotels and horses.

According to Bloomberg, the address Minor gave on his bankruptcy filing carries the Beverly Hills zip code 90210. When a reporter went there looking for Minor, "There were three SUVs in the driveway -- a black Mercedes Benz, a black Range Rover and a black GMC Yukon -- and a bicycle. Gardeners were mowing the lawn." Those cars may soon be sold at auction by a court-appointed trustee. No idea what the gardeners were still doing there. Minor didn't come to the door.



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mike at home

Just because one may have money does not mean it can not be spent with out regard to the next day thank you

June 03 2013 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
observantguy

Isn't this guy a piece of work?
He plays the system.
What makes what he does any dirfferent than welfare fraud?

June 03 2013 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ken

He'll come out of it smelling like a rose, people like that are sometimes richer after they go bankrupt than before. Donald Trump anyone ?

June 02 2013 at 9:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
OSHP367

I am betting he will find some boxes full of cash buried in the back yard AFTER the bankruptcy is over....

June 02 2013 at 6:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
laugh

Kinda like our my state's Sec. of State. He kept cash in a stack of shoe boxes in his closet. All accounts showed no hint.

June 02 2013 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kevin Henjum

People declare bankruptcy all the time even if they have wealth. Look at Donald trump.... It's a business decision, period. He will dump his debt and probably still have 50 million. Creditors need to weigh the risk of doing business with a guy like this ahead of time. In this case, they are going to get burned. And, he probably won't lose the cars as the article says.

June 02 2013 at 3:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dsherline

I'm no financial genius but 200 million in 5 years? Sounds like piss poor money management to me.

June 02 2013 at 3:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jcagle9595

This happens quite frequently to people who come into easy money and had never had much before (lottery winners, inheritances,etc).. The fact is that many people don't have any money because of their inept management and lack of planning. Look at ole Mike Tyson......blew through 300 mil and will probably end up as a Walmart greeter..

June 02 2013 at 1:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cyretired

Easy come easy go.

June 01 2013 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gerbersmail

I am not defending this loser for a minute. However, when you have that kind of money your spending habits are far different from the average Joe. You're not cutting out coupons at your local supermarket to save a buck. You're buying things that cost millions in hopes of making millions more. When you're spending fifty million here and fifty million there on investments all it takes is a few bad investments for things to go south. He should have had more sense though. Bankruptcy laws should protect the average person that have fallen on hard times rather than multi millionaires who squander it and then expect a bail out. You had your shot and more than 99.9% of the planet's population. DEAL WITH IT!

June 01 2013 at 2:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gerbersmail's comment
jaguara777

I agree with you: "Bankruptcy laws should protect the average person that have fallen on hard times rather than multi millionaires who squander it ".

Perhaps, the bankruptcy laws should penalize people who squander or disallow declaring bancruptcy for more than 2 cars for 2 people, more than 1200 square feet of house for 1 person, luxury items, etc.

June 02 2013 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply