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November 3, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Paul Allen files for bankruptcy protection for Digeo holdings

Mercer Island billionaire Paul Allen is asking for federal bankruptcy protection as he liquidates the remains of Digeo, a Kirkland set-top box company that was mostly sold off this fall.

Allen filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday for a holding company that encompasses the remains of Digeo. It has assets of less than $50,000 and debts of $10 million to $50 million, according to the filing.

Among the nine unsecured creditors include Comcast – owed $632.42 – and Datec Inc., a Tukwila IT vendor owed $48,206.27.

A spokesman for Allen said the filing does not indicate the Microsoft co-founder is in financial straits and unable to pay the debts of his startup.

“No, not at all, it’s not about Paul’s personal wealth,” said David Postman, spokesman for Allen’s investment company, Vulcan.

“That is the prudent forum for winding down a remaining business,” Postman said. “That’s not unusual and it’s the method to do that, to take the last piece of this company and liquidate.”

Allen sold Digeo’s key assets – including its brands and technology for its “Moxi” advanced set-top box systems – in September to Arris, a Suwanee, Ga.-based company that’s a major player in the cable hardware business.

Arris paid $20 million for the assets. Allen had invested more than $110 million in Digeo since it was started in 1999.

Digeo had reorganized several times before Allen, his sister and others on the Digeo board decided last spring that it was time to sell or find a strategic partner for the company.

That was around the time Allen’s biggest investment, St Louis-based cable company Charter Communications, filed for bankruptcy with $21.7 billion in debt.

Comments | More in | Topics: Billionaire techies, Digital TV, Paul Allen

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