Hibu shareholders hit out at former bosses

Michael Bow
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SAVERS who lost money in the restructuring of Yellow Pages owner Hibu yesterday criticised its former directors for failing to meet them at a shareholder meeting.

The Hibu Shareholder Group (HSG), which represents about 760 small investors, said former chairman Bob Wigley and ex-chief executive Mike Pocock should have attended the emergency general meeting held yesterday in Reading to hear their complaints.

“The directors were conspicuous by their absence,” HSG lawyer Barry Dearing told City A.M. “Wigley and Pocock have got a lot of questions to answer.” Hibu declined to comment.

Loss making Hibu was formally put into administration just days before the emergency meeting, meaning Wigley and Pocock did not have to attend the meeting and answer shareholder questions.

Administrators at Deloitte took questions instead of the former directors.

Hibu was repossessed by around 300 of its creditors in the summer after it was felled by its £2.3bn debt pile. Creditors included George Soros’s Soros Fund Management, Blackstone’s credit arm GSO, and Deutsche Bank.

Small shareholders in Hibu were wiped out when the company was restructured. Shares had plummeted from a high of 603p in 2007 to become worthless. Some savers have lost up to £500,000 due to the restructuring.

The former Hibu directors have always insisted they acted in the best interests of the company and had hoped to try and salvage some return for shareholders.

“It doesn’t stop here,” Dearing said. “The directors have certainly got to answer these questions about the company.”