The photooxygenation of 4a,8b-dihydrobiphenylene affords an endoperoxide. NEt3-catalyzed rearrangement of this endoperoxide gave the corresponding hydroxy enone, while the CoTPP-catalyzed rearrangement afforded a bisepoxide. MnO2 oxidation of hydroxy enol leads to 4a,8b-dihydrobiphenylene-1,4-dione. The NIBS bromination of this dione produces mono- and dibromides. NEt3-supported elimination of monobromide and zinc elimination of dibromide afforded the target compound, 1,4-biphenylenequinone, which was trapped as the dimer and cycloadducts with cyclopentadiene and anthracene, respectively. Furthermore, 1,4-biphenylenequinone was generated upon oxidation of biphenylene-1,4-diol with bis(trifluoroacetoxy)iodobenzene (PIFA). The stability and reactivity of the title compound is discussed. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. Ail rights reserved.