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Icon Medialab shares suspended

LONDON - Shares of debt-ridden internet consultancy Icon Medialab have been suspended from the stock exchange in Stockholm until further notice, as the company scrambles to secure extra financing.

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It had been reported earlier this week that Icon Medialab was close to winning new financing, which will secure the future of the troubled consultancy. The company has seen its shares plunge more than 98% since their peak in early 2000.

The company's recent plan to get itself out of debt was scuppered by the Swedish government. It had planned a complex restructuring move, which would have seen it create a new company while selling off its shares in Icon and its liabilities to a third party. The move would have allowed it to get out of £163.5m in unrealised tax losses.

Under the plan, the company buying Icon's liabilities could then use them to reduce its own tax bill.

The company has cut hundreds of staff this year, with around 500 staff losing their jobs as part of its ongoing effort to get out of trouble.

In October, it announced that it was to cut another 70 staff from its headquarters in Sweden. In February, it axed 325 jobs and sold off assets, after revealing that its full-year losses had widened to £170m in 2000.

The company sold its BrandLab assets in London, Stockholm and Berlin to FutureBrand, a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group of Companies. Interpublic is Icon Medialab's largest shareholder.

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