Trustmarque sold to biz process outsourcing specialist Liberata

York-based reseller avoids administration, management stays on board

Business Process Outsourcing biz Liberata has swallowed troubled Microsoft enterprise partner Trustmarque for an undisclosed sum.

The solvent sale was concluded late last night, avoiding the need for the York-headquartered reseller to call in the administrators, something that seemed liked a possibility 10 days ago when issues first emerged.

As exclusively revealed by The Channel, the York-headquartered licensing specialist ran into cash flow problems that its backer Dunedin described as a funding gap caused by a change in accounting for revenue recognition.

Biz restructuring and recovery firm Resolve was brought on board last week to seek a trade buyer and talks with numerous interested parties kicked off. Liberata was confirmed as the new owner this morning.

“The acquisition creates significant value for Liberata and for all our customers by connecting the ICT value chain,” said Dermot Joyce, CEO of Liberata, in a canned statement.

Trustmarque CEO Scott Haddow and sales and marketing director Angelo di Ventura, who led the £43m MBO some 15 months ago, are staying with the business, the new owner confirmed.

Haddow talked up the “strategic fit” between the organisations, adding:

“Although there has been speculation and uncertainty in the last week, we’ve simply had a change of investor.”

Despite industry talk about Trustmarque staffers' CVs flying around, it is understood that not one sales person left the organisation.

“I’d like to thanks our employees, customers and partners for their loyalty and support over the last week and now assure them that we are very much back to business as usual,” he said.

The deal should provide some security for Trustmarque’s 190 staff, as well as trade creditors, which were facing the prospect of losing money if the company had gone into administration and was subsequently bought.

This is the second buy Liberata has completed with a classic channel biz; it hoovered up Microsoft Gold partner Trinity Expert Systems from administration last October after it too faced liquidity issues.

The combined organisation employs 2,000 staff, with a turnover of £240m making an EBITDA of £16m, and has 1,700 private and public sector clients, Liberata stated.

Many folk in the channel had expected a pre-pack administration - when a business is placed into administration and is then almost immediately sold with the contingent liabilities cleared.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is likely Liberata had to cough some millions of pounds to Dunedin as well as settling the bills with trade creditors.

The solvent trade sale assures some continuity to the business, and means that Liberata gets to keep the public sector contracts won by Trustmarque that may have been under threat should it have gone bust. ®

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