Halsey Minor has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Of course, given the condition of the economy and high unemployment rates, that probably doesn’t sound terribly shocking. Lots of people have found themselves facing bankruptcy. But it’s a bit more unusual when you consider that this is a guy who just sold his company for $1.8B five years ago.
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”
The geeks in the audience won’t need to ask what CNET is, but Minor certainly seemed to be on top of the world at that point. So how does somebody go from pocketing 200 million to filing for bankruptcy in only five years? Bloomberg has a guess.
How do you sell the technology company you founded for $1.8 billion and five years later file for personal bankruptcy? For Halsey Minor, it may have been a fascination with houses, hotels, horses and art…
After years of technology investing, Minor embraced real estate. In February 2008, Minor bought the Carter’s Grove Plantation from Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for $15.3 million. The 400-plus acre estate, with a mile of frontage on the James River, was at one time a museum. Its 12-bedroom Georgian mansion was built for Carter Burwell, a scion of one of the richest families in colonial Virginia, in the 1750s. Architect magazine said Minor planned to raise racehorses on the property…
Minor also listed Claiborne Farm, Lanes End Stallions, KESMARC Kentucky and Braeburn Training Center among his creditors. Amounts owed to each creditor weren’t disclosed.
The list of purchases goes on for some time. And it seems that a lot of the people Minor owes money to are “unsecured creditors” which means that they’ll get stuck with the bill after his bankruptcy goes through. It may come as some comfort to them that he’s had to sell off quite a bit of his art collection. It sounds like Mr. Minor is doing alright for himself, though. When Bloomberg went to interview him at his home in the 90210 zip code, the driveway was clogged up with three SUVs and gardeners were working on the lawn.
It’s a hard knock life, but you’ve got to give the guy props for persevering.