Sledge bullish despite parent company Photon Group's financial woes

Sledge's parent company Photon Group is yet to finalise discussions on capital raising to help it reduce debts of around £150m.

Photon Group faces financial troubles
Photon Group faces financial troubles

Photon Group - the Australian marketing services company which owns Sledge - is yet to finalise an agreement with some of its biggest divisions to raise around £66m (AUS $115m) towards its debts.

Shares in Photon, which has debts of £157m (AUS $271m), were suspended six weeks ago and the firm’s new chief executive Jeremy Philips has begun talks with some of its constituent agencies on a capital raising programme.

"Unaffected"

Despite the financial troubles facing Photon, Sledge is unaffected, said chief executive Nic Cooper, speaking exclusively to C&IT.

"We are unaffected," he said. "It is business as usual."

The agency, which reported turnover of £8.8 million in its last financial year, made six redundancies in 2009 and moved to offices in Camden from Shepherds Bush.

Naked

Photon's former executive chairman, Tim Hughes, paid £21m (AUS $36.7m) for London-based media strategy firm Naked in early 2008.

It was part of a AUS $200m acquisition drive that pushed Photon's debts to around £157m (AUS $271m).

Meanwhile, outstanding earnout deals total AUS $176m and Photon's financial problems mean Philips has been forced to offer executives eligible for a payment an upfront cash component worth about 35c in the dollar.

The executives have also been offered Photon stock and deferred cash payments as part of the negotiations.

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