£1 billion tech 'unicorn' Ve Interactive was acquired for just £2 million

Ve Interactive Martin TonnesenVe InteractiveVe Interactive’s new CEO Martin Tonnesen.

Ve Interactive, once considered a UK tech “unicorn” worth at least £1 billion, was sold to its management for just £2 million, according to an update from one of its investors.

Media and tech investor Concha, which paid £4 million for a 0.43% stake in Ve Interactive last March, wrote that its board was “deeply disappointed” by the company’s decline in recent months.

It said the value of its investment in Ve Interactive had been “eliminated.”

Concha wrote in its update: “[As] part of a pre-packaged arrangement, the business and assets of Ve were sold to Rowchester Limited for a cash consideration of £2m, payable in instalments over a 12 month period ending April 2018.”

Concha has previously said it and other shareholders were considering a challenge to the deal. In its update, the company added that it would “continue to investigate the actions of those responsible for its demise.”

Ve Interactive is an online ad business that was once billed as a successful UK startup, but went into administration last month after failing to raise £20 million in new funding. Its founding CEO David Brown stepped down in March, and the company went into administration in April. Its core business was rescued by its management team in a pre-pack administration deal, leaving appointed administrators Smith & Williamson to find a way to pay off Ve’s creditors.

The buyout was led by a consortium called Rowchester Limited, which is made up of Ve Interactive’s new management team. That includes new CEO Martin Tonnessn and COO David Marrinan-Hayes.

The Telegraph reported last month that Ve Interactive owed £1.3 million in tax before its collapse.

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