Liquidation experts speak out on Maclean deal

Two liquidators talk about Maclean Technology's purchase of Maclean Computing's assets

The liquidation of Maclean Computing after almost 20 years of operation, along with the announcement that CEO Chris Maclean has purchased the assets of struggling company from liquidators within days of its liquidation has left some in the tech industry perplexed.

Maclean Computing went into liquidation at 5:30pm Friday 13 July. The following Monday staff at Maclean were told to wait for an “official” announcement, and on Tuesday Computerworld reported the liquidation. By Wednesday July 18 it was announced that Chris Maclean had purchased Maclean’s assets (but not its liabilities) under the name of Maclean Technology, a company registered last year.

The asset sale process took five days, including a weekend.

Maclean's liquidators Waterstone Insolvency, which is run by Damien Grant, says the bidding process was fair and competitive in order to give the highest possible return to creditors.

As Computerworld readers have pointed out, Grant is also a business and finance commentator for the New Zealand Herald. Last year he told the National Business Review that he was charged with 10 counts of fraud [article behind paywall] in 1994, and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Computerworld has asked two liquidation experts for their opinion on the Maclean case, and whether the amount of time passed would have been sufficient. Simon Dalton is a partner at Gerry Rea Partners, and a chartered accountant. Mike Lamacraft is an insolvency practioner at Meltzer Mason Heath.

What is the average time a liquidator takes to sell a company?

Lamacraft says there is no standard amount of time for the liquidation process. It depends on the type of business and the pressures being put on the liquidator, he adds.

Before a sale can occur, Lamacraft says liquidators need to meet with creditors, investigate the owner’s activities, and the company’s financial records - which he says takes considerable administrative time.

Is five days (including a weekend) enough for a fair and competitive bidding process?

"Normally it's not that fast," says Dalton.

"Which suggests to me he [the liquidator] has been approached and offered money he couldn't say no to," he says. "The owner could have come forward after finding financing, or something similar.

"As a liquidator this is what you want to achieve."

Lamacraft suggests that following the news of Maclean’s liquidation, and moves by competitors to pick up its customers, pressure might have been put on Waterstone to sell before the company lost value.

Read the rest of this article on Computerworld.

Comments

Concerned Service Provider

1

Guys, it's time to focus on the client's (the creditor's plight is well documented).

Are there any MCL customers who have lost the likes of deposits or prepaid services entitlements etc.? NO names please.

Anonymous

2

The liquidators and Chris seem confident on their legal position. My question is this:
- Isn't the restraint of trade contracts signed by staff to MCL now null and void under MTL?
- Even if the staff has signed the new contracts, don't they have a timeframe where they can walk away from the new company and not be tied to the terms of contract?

Damien Grant

3

If any creditors want to talk to me on this matter, via email or come and meet me in person, then please contact me directly. I am happy to discuss any issues or address any concerns.

You can get my contact details from our Waterstone website.
Many thanks,

Damien

SINNICK

4

The McLeans website (www.maclean.co.nz) is still flying the flag of "Rock Solid IT", without a single mention of this whole debacle. Of note...

10 reasons Maclean is a great place to work
1.Get your birthday off
2.Free lunches Monday to Thursday
3.Real espresso coffee
4.Free fresh fruit basket
5.Flexi work environment
6.Free travel insurance
7.Access to personal IT kit @ cost
8.The latest tools ( iPhones, Laptops refreshed every 2 years)
9.5 weeks leave after 5 years employment
10.Monthly values awards and recognition
We are always on the lookout for passionate people, if you think you're up to the challenge, drop us a line : email jointheteam@maclean.co.nz

Anonymous

5

been following this from CHC too, the owner claimed in an earlier interview that profits were "...up, year on year..", all the while a trusted employee was making off with $500k (supposedly unrecoverable, though I suppose he's now on holiday courtesy of Her Majesty?)... so given the debts amount to $3M while assets are around $1M plus the $.5M unrecoverable, what happened to the other $1.5M - or was the company already in a big hole when it was taken over???
In which case, you can't believe everything that's reported - I smell a rat, and suspect that someone is going to have to put on the rat-catcher's hat...

Legal

6

Would all people who wrote giving their support to Maclean's/Allan/Chris on last weeks string please stand up and be counted now.....................

I didn't think so....

Anonymous

7

Quoting CW article above

"Chris Maclean had purchased Maclean's assets (but not its liabilities) under the name of Maclean Technology, a company registered last year"
Chances are very slim

Carl

8

Dodgy and is starting to smell.....

Anonymous

9

It was tuesday night that it was announced that he won the bid

Anonymous

10

Have been watching these developments from a McLean managed services customer perspective. Does anyone out there know if managed services contracts can be transferred to the new company without the customer having the opportunity to cancel the contract? I understand some McLean customers have been contacted and it's been presented as business as usual, just sign on the dotted line.... Surely contracts with the liquidated entity can't be purchased by the new entity without the consent of the customer? Help me out here...

Damien Grant

11

If any creditors want to talk to me on this matter, via email or come and meet me in person, then please contact me directly. I am happy to discuss any issues or address any concerns.

You can get my contact details from our Waterstone website.

Many thanks,

Damien

Anonymous

12

How nice. Owe money all over the place, ditch the company to the liqudators, buy the assets yourself and carry on, having shed the debt and left the creditors out of pocket.
I don't know why NZ allows this kind of shonky business behaviour.
Shows he has no conscience and takes no responsibility for anything.

Anonymous

13

I can't see many reputable supplier who has been burnt by McLean wanting to line up for more punishment - despite the rise of his new company. Good luck with the future Chris - u will need it.

Interesting situation

14

The large creditors will give in and do business with MTL. Albeit at a higher cost for MTL and cash upfront. Which will make MTL uncompetitive and have to float a chunk of change to pay for goods upfront.
Any creditors here willing to comment ?

Anonymous

15

What happened to the SG quote from earlier today? Copyright infringement?

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