DIRECTORY services brand Thomson Local was bought out of administration by two serial entrepreneurs yesterday.
Thomson Local, which sends out 22m copies of its UK business directory and maintains several websites, appointed Grant Thornton as administrator on Wednesday, following several tough years.
The Hampshire-based firm posted a net loss of £732,000 for 2011, down from a profit of £3.5m in 2010, according to its most recent Companies House accounts.
Turnover fell 16.3 per cent to £52.82m in that year, as a jump in online business failed to make up for a 30 per cent slump in print products, which made up more than half of its revenues.
Its parent company, Italian directory group Seat Pagine Gialle, is trying to strike a deal with its own creditors over its €1.5bn (£1.3bn) debt pile. Corporate Media Partners, a business set up by Paul Spinks and Patrick Bradshaw last month, has taken over most of Thomson Local’s operations.
The pair already run several business databases including 118 Information.
“We … believe that the Thomson Online Directory offering will be a useful resource from which a number of our larger licensing customers can benefit,” said Bradshaw.
Grant Thornton said the sale protects 341 jobs, though around 170 are understood to have been made redundant.
The fortunes of Thomson Local mirror those of Hibu, the troubled company that publishes the Yellow Pages, as the internet takes over the territory once dominated by printed directories.
London-listed Hibu wiped out its shareholders last month in a debt-for-equity deal – a move that some investors are challenging through the courts.
MEET THE ADMINISTRATORS THOMSON LOCAL
GRANT Thornton was appointed administrator of Thomson Directories on Wednesday and announced the sale of most of the business the following day.
Ian Corfield and David Dunckley are leading the administration team. Corfield is a partner in the recovery and reorganisation practice, specialising in mid-market businesses in distress.
He joined Grant Thornton last year, having spent two decades with KPMG.
Corfield oversaw the company voluntary agreement of La Tasca Restaurants and has acted as an administrator for the Hilton Manchester, Radisson Liverpool and Scotsman Group hotels.
In his previous role he worked on the administration of First Quench Retail, the owner of Threshers and Wine Rack.
Dunckley is also a partner in the recovery and reorganisation practice, and has been with the firm since 1997.
He has worked on several deals in the automotive sector, and spent a year seconded to HSBC’s restructuring team.
Grant Thornton is the UK’s fifth-biggest accountancy firm with 28 offices in the UK.