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Webvan holding another auction to raise cash

The online grocer next month will to try to liquidate about $30 million worth of equipment--including about 200 vans--used at its Atlanta operations.

Webvan is having a garage sale.

The online grocer will try to unload more than 200 vans, or enough to fill a small car dealership, at a public auction next month as it liquidates about $30 million worth of equipment used at its Atlanta operations.

Webvan, which at one time boasted more than a billion dollars in its coffers, shut down its Atlanta operations in April to save money.

Anyone kicking the tires on those vans could find some good deals. Most are less than a year old, and sources close to the sale said the vans, which cost the company about $70,000, could go for around $30,000.

The vans range in size from 13 feet to 18 feet and come equipped with global positioning systems so they can be tracked by satellites.

Webvan spokesman Bud Grebey said the sales will generate needed cash for the company, which has said it expects to run dry of operating funds in the first quarter of next year.

Before that, the company must ward off a more imminent threat. The Nasdaq Stock Market has informed Webvan that it will pull the company's listing for not meeting the exchange's $1 minimum share price requirement.

Webvan shareholders voted Friday to implement a 25-to-1 reverse stock split in hopes of keeping the stock listed.

As it beats a retreat from its 26-city expansion plans, Webvan is becoming known among food preparation and delivery companies as a bargain hunter's dream.

Webvans lined up In May, Webvan auctioned off the goods from a top-of-the-line $1.3 million kitchen that was never used at a Kent, Wash., facility that never opened. The kitchen was going to be used to prepare precooked meals for customers.

But that auction will pale in comparison to the one in Atlanta being overseen by Charyn Auctions, which handled the previous Webvan sale.

Besides the vans, the company will try to sell office equipment and furniture, kitchen equipment, conveyor belts, and generators. The goods are expected to be in fairly good condition, as the company opened in Atlanta less than a year ago. According to the Web site advertising the auction, the merchandise was purchased in May 2000.

The public auction is scheduled to take place in Atlanta on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.