A Sheffield payments company has been rescued after the founder bought the firm out of administration, saving all 52 jobs.
Ashley Tate stumped up £100,000 to buy Split The Bills after he was forced to put it into administration following a row with an energy supplier.
The firm handles utility and television licence payments in shared student houses and forwards the cash to suppliers.
The 27-year-old said an energy firm threatened to issue a winding up order, which forces an insolvent company into compulsory liquidation, after he queried a demand for £900,000.
He claims the figure was based on estimated bills and insists the true total, based on meter readings, was closer to £200,000.
After six weeks of discussions, and amid mounting legal bills and costs of more than £50,000, he called in administrators.
He said: “We’ve had a very close shave. I was running a very successful company and it came out of the blue, it’s left me shaken.
“We tried to negotiate but we were ultimately backed into a corner by a business with very deep pockets.
“They had wanted us to pay the full amount and refund the money if the estimated amount was incorrect.
“It’s a relief to be on the other side having saved everyone’s jobs and customers fees - all could have been lost in the administration. I’m very pleased to say it’s business as usual.”
Mr Tate said he found funds for the sale from another business he set up, student lettings company Fit Property.