"Unicorn" startup Ve Interactive rescued from administration by management buyout

Lynsey Barber
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Hundreds of jobs have been saved at Ve Interactive (Source: Getty)

Adtech startup Ve Interactive, once a $1bn "unicorn", has been rescued from administration by a management buyout.

The pre-pack deal, led by a group of existing shareholders and creditors, will secure jobs which had been at risk when the firm fell into administration late yesterday evening.

"The interim management team has successfully bought Ve Interactive out of administration which means the UK tech business is protected for the future," said a spokesperson for the startup.

"The company will now seamlessly continue to trade under the management of chief executive Morten Tonnesen and managing director David Marrinan-Hayes."

A creditor forced the startup into administration on Tuesday, despite attempts by management and investors to save it. It followed several months of growing uncertainty around the future of the business.

A fresh injection of cash was made in March and founder David Brown stepped aside in a bid to keep it going, slashing its reported "unicorn" valuation to £300m.

"I am very excited to be leading the next chapter in Ve Interactive’s story," said Tonnesen.

"The business has long been at the forefront of the industry and we now have the investment and backing to continue to build out our market-leading technologies."

Information from the administrators reveal the firm had revenue of around £40m last year and employed over 250 people. Previous estimates had put staff numbers at just under 1,000.

It said the company started to run into serious cash flow issues in late 2016 and had recently tried to raise £20m in equity but could not find backing.

“We are delighted to conclude a successful sale of the business in such a short timeframe. This strategy was designed to maximise the return to creditors that could be achieved in the circumstances," said Henry Shinners, head of restructuring and recovery services at Smith and Williamson.

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