On Friday, word came across the Atlantic that 5D employees had been laid off and been asked to be out of their offices by the end of the day. This included confirmation of offices in both London and Los Angeles (and we assume Miami). How could a company such as 5D so quickly shutter their doors? According to public records, 5D incurred a huge financial tax charge. This is most likely related to taxes due on the sale of their JAWS PostScript rendering technology. Sources have indicated that the company was recently asked by the government to immediately pay off this bill and could not. And therefore were forced into shuttering their doors. What's the history behind this? 5D sold their digital printing software division (and use of JAWS PDF rasterizing technology -- ala the spark) to Global Graphics. Global Graphics purchased this for 24.7 million euro, of which 3 million was cash and the balance was approximately 590,000 newly-issued shares of Global Graphics stock (EAASDAQ:GLGR) valued at 36.75 euro/share. It's this amount which determined the tax liability for 5D. According to the Global Graphics 2000 annual report, 5D still held all of their shares at the end of the year. By that point, the share price had dropped and 5D's investment in the company was reduced by around 2.5 million euro. By the end of 2001 when GLGR stock was under 5 euro/share, 5D was no longer listed as a principal shareholder in the company so they had reduced their holdings considerably -- or possibly even sold all of their shares. Depending upon when 5D sold their shares, the loss incurred could be great, since there was a mid-year precipitous drop in Global Graphics share price. So in the end, as many investors in the dot.com era found out, millions were lost on paper due to rapidly declining stock values and/or overvaluation. Whether this specifically led to the demise of 5D is not fully certain, but definitely contributed to their situation. What does this mean? Too early to know, for sure. Potential purchasers include discreet, Quantel, Thompson, Apple and others. Does it make sense for discreet to only go after the sparks rights or also obtain the technology behind Colossus and Cyborg? Certainly more questions than answers at this point in time.