Ariadne Capital, the venture capital firm of former Dragon's Den star Julie Meyer, has been rolled into administration.
The UK business rescue and recovery firm Leonard Curtis was appointed as administrator by Meyer herself, who is the majority shareholder and a secured creditor to Ariadne Capital.
Meyer told City A.M. that she "appointed the administrator due to the actions of the former managing director". She did not elaborate on what these actions entailed, but a person familiar with insolvency practice stressed that Ariadne Capital must have been close to insolvency in order for administrators to be appointed.
Meyer explained that her Malta-based holding company, Ariadne Capital Group (ACG), had been trying to acquire the London-based Ariadne Capital venture firm which claims to have invested in businesses including marketing company Monetise and have 15 active portfolio companies.
She said she had hoped to acquire the business as a "going concern", but the mysterious actions of the managing director had forced her to appoint administrators and run an asset sale.
This may mean that Meyer's ACG is able to now buy Ariadne Capital while ditching any unsecured debt, although Leonard Curtis would have a duty to make sure that the best buyer is found for the firm.
Between the ends of 2015 and 2016, Ariadne Capital's debt more than doubled to hit £7.1m according to accounts filed with Companies House.
Meanwhile in the Malta branch of Ariadne Capital, senior directors David Barry and Joe Aquilina have both stepped down in recent months attracting criticism from Meyer.
The firm is also being sued by a former employee for unpaid wages, City A.M. understands, and until recently was embroiled in legal proceedings with Maltese public relations firm Mangion and Lightfoot for unpaid fees. Ariadne's own law firm Clifford Chance is suing it for similar reasons.
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