Trustmarque has avoided administration after finding a buyer in the form of business process outsourcing outfit Liberata.
As exclusively revealed by CRN, the troubled Microsoft partner was last Tuesday given just a week to find a solution to its financial problems or face formal insolvency proceedings.
This morning, Trustmarque confirmed that Liberata has bought the York-based firm, which will continue to operate as a separate entity. Its senior management team, including chief executive Scott Haddow (pictured) and sales director Angelo di Ventura, will remain responsible for Trustmarque's day-to-day activities.
Although Liberata bought another stricken VAR - Trinity Expert Systems - in a pre-pack administration last October, Trustmarque avoided administration, with Haddow billing the move as "simply a change of investor".
Dunedin, which backed a £43m MBO at Trustmarque just 15 months ago, has relinquished any stake in Trustmarque as a result of the deal, a Trustmarque representative confirmed.
Sources says Trustmarque's financial issues centred on changes to how it recognises revenues, leaving Dunedin feeling like it had overpaid for the York-based firm, which turned over £130m last year.
The company's search for alternative finance options had attracted "significant interest", according to sources, with SCC among those understood to have taken a look. A pre-pack was considered by some onlookers to be a realistic option given Trustmarque's high debts with creditors including Microsoft, although thankfully it avoided this fate.
Following its Trustmarque buy, Liberata will have revenues in excess of £240m and employ 2,000 staff across the UK. Together, the duo will serve more than 1,700 public and private sector customers.
Haddow said Liberata was "a natural home" for Trustmarque.
"The strategic fit between the two organisations is excellent and as a result we are excited about the market opportunity that's in front of us," he said. "I'd like to thank our employees, customers and partners for their loyalty and support over the last week and now assure them that we are very much back to business as usual.
"We continue to be a successful and profitable business, and with the added expertise, customer portfolio and services that Liberata brings to the table, we will go from strength to strength."
Liberata's chief executive Dermot Joyce said the acquisition will create "significant value" for his company.
Neil Murphy, group managing director of rival Microsoft reseller Bytes, said he was "delighted" for staff and management at Trustmarque.
"Trustmarque are a good competitor of ours and, in an odd way, I'm pleased to see they will still be competing with us," he said. "They deserved to have a good result after a period of uncertainty."
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