Fuel cell mixes with old porn company for pseudo IPO

What does a fuel cell manufacturer and a company formerly known for porn sites have in common? A Nasdaq over-the-counting listed listing.

Growth Merger Inc., a publicly traded shell company, merged this week with Neah Power Systems which has created a membrane for methanol fuel cells. Methanol fuel cells may one day help power MP3 players and even laptops.

Still, the market remains small and many companies have delayed putting out fuel-cell powered products, so getting enough business to pull off an IPO remains difficult.

Enter Growth. The company originally stated out as a purveyor of adult web sites, but after an IPO it went inactive. The merger essentially allows Neah to acquire the existing shell and go public without all the roadshows and messy paperwork. The shell corporation reverse merger--call it the Hermit Crab merger--could become more popular as there are still a good number of defunct companies that qualified for public listings back in the go-go days.

Three Apple execs--Gil Amelio, Ellen Hancock and Steve Wozniak--announced they were heading up Acquicor, a shell company that will try to buy a start-up. Hours later, Wozniak unceremoniously pulled the plug on Wheels of Zeus, a wireless start-up company that had been spinning in neutral for years.

Intel Capital, among others, invested more than $12 million in the company in 2003 and 2004.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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