US reseller giant PCM is locked in rescue talks to buy all or parts of Misco UK in a move that could save up to 200 jobs, CRN understands.
Misco's UK business was plunged into crisis ten days ago when HMRC issued a winding-up petition against it over unpaid VAT, forcing its debt funder, Bank Leumi, to pull the plug, multiple sources have told us.
Discussions over a possible ‘pre-pack' rescue deal with PCM took place yesterday, and will continue today, we understand.
Any deal with PCM could save up to 150-200 jobs but an agreement must be reached before midnight tonight to avoid the firm entering into a full-blown administration process, one source we spoke to remarked.
California-based PCM, which turned over $2.25bn in 2016, opened a UK office in May before following that up last month with a small UK acquisition. Multiple of its top US executives have flown over to take part in the rescue talks, we understand.
PCM has declined to comment.
Regardless of the fate of the UK business, Misco's mainland European operations are completely unaffected by the funding crisis, we understand.
"It doesn't affect the European operations," said one source. "It actually cleans up the group, because the UK was by far the biggest loss-making element, and the rest of the group was either profitable, or very close to it."
Misco CEO Alan Cantwell, who led an MBO of the firm in March, recently told us the business had moved into a "stabilisation" phase after cutting £21m from Misco's cost base. Many of the cuts came in the UK. This included closing the Watford office, restructuring the salesforce, and the decision to close its Scottish warehouse.
However, the UK arm was plunged into a fresh crisis ten days ago when it received a winding-up petition from HMRC over VAT arrears. According to sources, HMRC suddenly had a change of heart over an informal payment plan it previously had in place with the reseller, and called in the whole debt without warning. This led Misco UK's debt funding partner, Bank Leumi, to step back from the firm.
Any pre-pack deal with PCM, which is looking at potentially acquiring key assets of Misco, would still constitute a formal insolvency process, but could secure ongoing employment for more than half of the reseller's 320 remaining UK staff, according to sources.
Misco could not be reached for comment.
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