Skillsgroup's proposed management buyout (MBO) of PSL, its high-endut proposals run into funding trouble. Hewlett Packard distribution business, has stalled, following difficulties faced by the management team in raising the necessary funds.
As exclusively revealed by PC Dealer, PSL was touted around by the parent company because it did not fit in with Skillsgroup's strategy (PC Dealer, 13 May).
At the time, sources speculated that the asking price fell between #20 million and #30 million. However, the plan was thwarted, following a lack of interest from potential buyers who said the price was too high. An MBO was then considered as a means of disposing of the distributor, this time with a #17 million price tag.
An announcement regarding a proposed MBO was expected to be made on the back of Skillsgroup's interim results due on 13 July, but according to sources close to the attempted PSL sale, details had to be revised at the last minute because the management team failed to come up with the asking price.
Instead, notification that the PSL arm would be up for sale on the open market was given in Skillsgroup's six-month results to 31 May. According to executive chairman David Southworth's statement, Skillsgroup 'has decided to seek a buyer for our Unix distribution company, PSL ... and its results have been classified as operations to be discontinued'.
One source said he was informed by his company's investment bank that an MBO had definitely been on the agenda. Just days before the change of plan came to light, he told PC Dealer he was 'surprised the whole business hadn't been concluded yet'.
One distributor that had been approached to buy PSL before the MBO was proposed revealed the buyout was still on the cards until late on 10 July.
'They are having to change their slides for their presentation to the City as a result of this,' he said.
Southworth and David Innes, managing director of Acuma, the subsidiary responsible for PSL, were meeting analysts in London as PC Dealer went to press.
The reseller's interim pre-tax profits were marginally up by less than 0.5 per cent to #6.6 million, from #6.5 million last time on turnover up 21 per cent to #77.2 million.
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