Comdex: Demise rumours fly at show

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Comdex: Demise rumours fly at show

Rumours regarding the fate of Comdex and show promoter Key3Media Group are almost as common as product announcements at the trade show in Las Vegas.

Yet sources attending a Bear Stearns private dinner party for some of the industry elite on Monday night claimed that the end of Comdex as we know it is at hand.

One source claimed exhibition company Deutche Messe, which holds the CeBit show in Europe, would take over the autumn show in Las Vegas.

CeBit has already taken charge of the PC Expo show in June and will hold the first CeBit in the US on 18 June.

Other rumours circulating at the show suggest Shelly Adelson, founder and former owner of the Comdex event, will regain control of the show at a knockdown price.

Rick Moore, vice-president of public relations at Key3Media, said another rumour that Key3Media had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was "absolutely not true". The likelihood that a bankruptcy filing, a matter of public record, could be kept secret is problematic, he added.

However, Moore did say Key3Media is about $300m (£190m) in debt despite the fact that this year's Comdex event will "make money".

"The company has too much debt on the books and among our options is a merger or acquisition," said Moore.

Filing for bankruptcy is more likely to happen when a potential partner or buyer works out a deal with Key3Media creditors and the bankruptcy court.

Comdex attendance appears to be down with shorter cab lines and fewer vendors. Key3Media executives admitted there were about 250 fewer exhibitors than last year.

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