The appointed administrator at managed IT services company Forum Group sold the company to Sydney-based IT and voice service provider Our Kloud.
The sale will see 72 Forum Group employees join Our Kloud, ensuring employees can retain their rights up to $ 1.6 million.
Mackay Goodwin began the sale process on July 9, a day after being appointed a director of Forum Group, revealing that he had received 111 inquiries about the sale of the company, with 95 interested parties signing no-deal agreements. -disclosure (NDA) while investigating the viability of the group of companies.
Group owner Bill Papas is said to have “disappeared” in Greece following an investigation by Westpac into fraud allegations involving alleged falsified customer invoices totaling more than $ 250 million at his other company Forum Finance.
Westpac and the Federal Court appointed Jason Ireland and Jason Preston of McGrathNicol as liquidators of Forum Finance on July 9 to investigate its assets and liabilities. Freeze orders have also been obtained, with Westpac now pursuing measures to freeze Papas’ overseas assets as well. Freeze orders were also extended to Papas’ partner Vincenzo Tesoriero.
Mackay Goodwin CEO Domenic Calabretta said the sale was a fantastic result for Forum Group employees and customers, despite obstacles to being unable to access funds due to freeze orders at the time of his appointment, as well as numerous claims by competing creditors against the cases.
“We are happy and relieved to have been able to preserve the business and ultimately sell under very difficult circumstances,” he said.
Speaking about the new acquisition, Our Kloud owner and CEO Eric Constantinidis said that the acquisition of Forum Group provides an opportunity to expand Our Kloud’s presence in the managed tech space in Australia.
Court documents reveal that Constantinidis and Bill Papas are cousins and have both been involved in amateur car racing in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia.
“I am delighted that we have been able to recruit over 70 Forum Group employees, adding their talent and expertise to our growing team. We look forward to this next chapter of Our Kloud’s journey, ”said Constantinidis.
At a July 21 creditors meeting, Mackay Goodwin recommended McGrath Nicol as a replacement director because the company was chosen by Westpac, which has the largest exposure in the group.
The financial numbers behind Papas’ fraud allegations continued to grow as more lenders came forward claiming to have been caught in the Forum’s web, including Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui, which estimates its exposure at 98.9 million dollars and the French bank Societe Generale, which estimates $ 9 million.
Thorn Group, a publicly traded company that owns Radio Rentals, also revealed to shareholders that it is investigating its transactions following potential exposure to Forum Group and Forum Finance to the tune of $ 2.2 million related to equipment financing loans financed between 2013 and 2019.
In its most recent court appearance, Westpac claims more than 100 allegedly fraudulent transactions were discovered in over two years, transferring millions into entities and assets owned by Papas and Tesoriero.
The case continues before Federal Court Judge Michael Lee.
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