beenz.com Finds Buyer For Assets

Beenz.com could see the light of day again, as incentive marketer Carlson Marketing Group announced plans to purchase the failed online currency play’s assets.

New York-based beenz had sought to make its eponymous Internet currency the foundation for rewards-based loyalty programs, but ran out of cash earlier this year. Now, Carlson Marketing — a unit of Minneapolis-based travel, leisure and restaurant giant Carlson Companies — will gain the firm’s infrastructure and currency, which will be used to boost Carlson’s own Gold Points incentive marketing programs.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Carlson Marketing Group put the value of the offer in the millions.

Specifically, Carlson Marketing acquires beenz’ network asset division, which includes the technology that allowed consumers to earn and spend beenz, and enabled retailers to redeem the currency online.

The purchase also includes beenz’ RewardzCodes technology, which allowed businesses to reward consumers using printed codes that were redeemable for beenz.

Additionally, Carlson gains the right to ask beenz’ account holders — who numbered more than five million at the time of the company’s closure — whether they want to join its own Gold Points Rewards program, which has about six million members.

Some 3,500 partners accept Gold Points currency worldwide, including firms owned by Carlson Companies parent, such as Radisson and Regent Hotels, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. Online retailers that accept the currency include LandsEnd.com, Dell.com and JCrew.com.

“The acquisition of beenz.com and its technology will not only allow us to develop a stronger online rewards capability for our Gold Points Rewards members, it also gives us access to an impressive global online community,” said Harold Schrum, executive vice president and general manager for Gold Points Rewards. “The beenz offline and online technologies are powerful tools that will help strengthen Gold Points’ position.”

Meanwhile, other executives at Carlson Marketing Group said that clients, especially consumer packaged goods firms, would benefit from the acquisition.

“The RewardzCodes technology and Carlson’s expertise in relationship marketing will expand traditional loyalty concepts into exciting applications for the consumer packaged goods industry, an industry that has had limited options to identify customers and ways to build strong consumer loyalty,” said Carlson Marketing Group president and chief executive Jim Ryan.

Ryan added that the company was already developing CPG applications for beenz’ RewardzCodes technology.

In August, Beenz shut down its Web site and its currency, giving its users less than two weeks’ notice that their earnings would become worthless. At the time, the company laid off most of its staff and closed its second, London-based headquarters. Meanwhile, sources told internetnews.com sister publication AtNewYork.com that a skeleton staff would seek to find a buyer for the company’s technology.

It is not known whether beenz members will receive the Gold Points equivalent to whatever beenz they lost during the company’s closure.

“We worked tirelessly to maintain the beenz network and to continue the development of our sophisticated technology while aggressively and effectively mitigating the business’ liabilities,” said beenz CEO and president Stephen Limpe. “Today’s announcement marks the successful culmination of this difficult process and enables us to return significant value back to our shareholders.”

“We view this integration of our core business into Carlson Marketing … as the ultimate testament that beenz established an extremely viable and valuable business,” Limpe added.

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