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Furore over Comparex Europe MBO

'Cash heist', ex-director claims

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A former director of Comparex has placed two full page ads in Business Day, in South Africa, slamming the networking reseller's proposed sale of its European operations for a bargain basement price to an MBO team.

Dave Sullivan, who calls the attempted MBO a 'cash heist' is calling on shareholders and staff to vote against the proposed team, IT Web reports.

The MBO team,which includes Rian du Plessis, current CEO of Comparex Holdings, will pay &euro10m, up from €8.5m tabled in August, in response to news that another bidder has come to the table.

In return the new owners gain access to €70m cash and full ownership of Comparex Europe. This option is, the MBO team claim, cheaper than closing down Comparex Europe, a lossmaking business with 1,000 employees. And most of the money is required for working capital purposes and to meet other obligations.

But Sullivan points out that the company vehicle used by the MBO team to transact the purchase is based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven which will give it unfettered access to the cash, he says.

According to information on its UK web site, Comparex group turns over approx. €1bn a year, with €500m coming from continental Europe. The company has offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain and the UK. ®

Comparex Europe buyout press release

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