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Offline AshSimmonds

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  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
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  • Name: Humble Narrator
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Bit late to the party I know, but just went for my monthly www.duttondirect.com surf and geez it's gone, was only late last year James contacted me saying feel free to use the stuff on his site and link back.


Luxury online classifieds site Dutton Direct in liquidation
James Thomson - 05 July 2010

Dutton Direct, an online classifieds site dedicated to luxury cars, planes, properties and boats that was set up five years ago by a fourth-generation member of Melbourne's famous Dutton family, has been placed in liquidation.

The company, established in 2004 by James Dutton, collapsed in late June and has been put in the hands of liquidators from Melbourne insolvency firm Vince & Associates.

The Dutton family is famous in Melbourne for their luxury sports car dealership, which was established in 1911. The family's main business is Dutton Sporting Cars, which sells brands including Porsche, Ferrari and Buggatti and is run by James Dutton's father, Jeff Dutton.

A spokesman for Dutton Sporting Cars confirmed there is no business connection between the two businesses.

Kylie Wright from Vince & Associates told SmartCompany that a meeting of creditors is scheduled for July 8, but it is too early to say what caused the company's collapse.

"Our aim at the moment is to conduct some investigations and try to figure out what happened."

The company is believed to have debts of almost $900,000, with over $500,000 owed to a secured creditor, about $340,000 owed to unsecured creditors and about $25,000 owed for employee entitlements.

James Dutton started the company with the intention of building an online classifieds business off the back of his family's reputation in the luxury goods sector.

"I thought why not do something on another level, where people can use the [Dutton] name, because of the history and heritage behind it, and create a platform where people can advertise it themselves," he told Dynamic Business in 2006.

It is believed more than $1 million was sunk into the website's development. Sellers paid a listing fee to advertise their luxury car, boat, jet or property and the Dutton Director also sold advertising to luxury brands.

The company had also set up licensing arrangements to take the concept overseas, but it appears these expansion plans did not bear fruit.

Dutton, who previously worked as a carpenter, at JB Hi-Fi and in the family business, has also had success in rally car driving and jet-ski racing.

Offline AshSimmonds

  • Geekitecht

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Drives: GF's shitbox :(
  • Location: Adelayed
  • Name: Humble Narrator
  • www: AshSimmonds.com
And I remember chatting to a few folk in wonderment over some of the numbers being thrown around in this article from just a year ago...


Duttondirect.com now ready to merge with international partner, founder says

Duttondirect.com, an online portal for luxury goods, is now ready to talk to an international merger partner that can help with its global expansion plans, founder James Dutton told this news service.

Duttondirect.com is currently rolling out licences for its technology globally, first in Milan, to be followed by Russia, Dubai, the UK and US, and a planned 119 more countries in the next five years, by which time Dutton believes Duttondirect.com could have turnover of AUD 250m (USD 201m).

Dutton is currently talking to a number of interested private investors to raise AUD 2m (USD 1.6m) for a 25% stake. He explained that as it is an unlisted public company, it is limited by the “20-20 rule” and can only raise AUD 2m (USD 1.6m) a year.

However, he said, there are no constraints to a merger, and while management would want to still have an involvement in the business, he is now willing to talk to merger partners as well. "We are now ready to align with the right big brother," he said.

Duttondirect.com has 21 shareholders including Andrew Barlow, who was instrumental in taking Australian online competitive intelligence service Hitwise to the world stage. Hitwise was acquired by UK-headquartered global information service company Experian in 2006.

Asked what Duttondirect.com would be valued at in a merger deal, Dutton pointed to listed, Australian online recruitment site Seek’s sale of a 25% stake to listed, Australian media group PBL in 2006 for AUD 33m (USD 26.5m). He added that Duttondirect.com’s model had the potential to be even stronger than the Seek model because of its high-end online technology, back-end infrastructure, proven business model and branding. Dutton, who comes from a well-established Melbourne family, also heads 98-year-old Duttons Automotive, an Australian dealership for prestige and classic motors.

In addition to PBL, Dutton said other listed, Australian online portal market leaders such as News and Fairfax could make ideal merger partners because Duttondirect’s niche online product could add to their online offerings. Globally, he added, companies like California, US-headquartered publishing business developer Curtco or UK-headquartered luxury lifestyle group Quintessentially would provide a direct fit and “could be even stronger plays”.

The company’s accountants are MPR Group and Grant Thornton and its lawyer is IMPEX Lawyers & Advisers.

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