Daisy Group seals Phoenix IT Group buy, exec set for exit

'When the curtain falls, the actors should leave the stage' ... or somfink

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Some execs at LSE-listed Phoenix IT Group are edging toward the exit, El Chan can reveal, after the proposed takeover by Daisy Group today got the official rubber stamp.

The approach from privately owned Daisy came in May when it offered 160 pence per share for Phoenix in a transaction that valued the equity at £135m.

The directors subsequently approved the bid.

Today, Phoenix confirmed the outstanding shares not already owned by Daisy Group and its private equity backer, Toscafund, are to be “effected by means of a Scheme of Arrangement”.

“Following the delivery of the Court Order to the Registrar of Companies, the Scheme has now become effective in accordance with its terms,” Phoenix told the City.

As a result, the delisting of Phoenix shares from the official list of the FCA and the cancellation of admission to trading on LSE were applied for, and are expected to take effect from tomorrow.

Phoenix already signalled that following the merger, duplication of senior roles will result in some job cuts – and with Daisy CEO Neil Muller the top operational man in the business, the top job at Phoenix seemed to be at risk

Steve Vaughan, CEO at Phoenix – the man hired to turnaround the operation and find a buyer – confirmed he is leaving, 16 months after he first joined the then very troubled loss-making firm.

"It’s goodnight from me,” he told us, “today the takeover of Phoenix by Daisy completes, and it is also my last day at Phoenix. When the curtain falls, the actors should leave the stage, someone once said," he opined.

We aren’t quite sure who said that ... but Vaughan certainly has. The serial turnaround specialist gave no indication which burning building he’s off to hose down next, but it certainly seems as though his job is done at Phoenix. For him anyway.

Year two and three of Phoenix’s turnaround plan drafted by Vaughan is in the hands of Muller and his management team who will have the task of integrating a not insignificant operation.

In fiscal 2015 ended 31 March, Phoenix turned over £212.4m, down nine per cent year-on-year, and returned to the black for the first time in years with group operating profit of £8.8m.

The company is comprised of three divisions; the Partner Services unit (support services for provided for third party tech sellers), the Managed Services division, and a Business Continuity arm.

In another move, CFO Jane Aikman will also be leaving the business. She told us Daisy will not need two CFOs, saying that she has yet to decide what to do next.

Daisy was unavailable to comment. ®


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