Fuse 8 could be sold after chief’s failure to provide update

THE board of digital marketing agency Fuse 8 is considering delisting from the stock market or selling the business after its chief executive failed to provide an update on the company’s performance and forecasts for the rest of the year.

The Leeds-based firm said yesterday that Nigel Hunter offered his resignation to the company on August 26 after the incident but it was not accepted.

However, the board said it launched an internal investigation last week following this event and the discovery of other issues and added that Mr Hunter was “relieved of his duties for the present time”.

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The statement said Mr Hunter is not active in the business at the moment, nor is he participating in the investigation or review.

It added: “The early results of this investigation have shown that the company’s financial performance for the six months to 30 June, 2011 will be below expectations. In addition, the board cannot be confident that the company will achieve the market forecasts for the full year.

“This will be very disappointing news for shareholders and for the dedicated and hard-working employees of the company as new business activity is strong and the company has a solid team of skilled staff who are delivering great work to their clients.”

The board is now considering its next step including delisting the business from AIM and reorganising the company in a significantly lower-cost environment, or selling the operating businesses of the group.

If the board decided to pursue the later option, it said it was likely the company would become a “cash shell” and be reclassified as an investing company. It said it is not currently considering any offer for the company.

The statement added: “The board plans to complete its review in as short a period as possible and will update shareholders in due course.”

Fuse 8 has more than 100 clients and offers digital marketing services ranging from website design and build to search engine optimisation. It has offices in London, Leeds and Russia.

About 81 per cent of the company’s share capital is held between Mr Hunter, its founders, Mark Walton and Andy Hutchinson, and a staff pension scheme.