Tactus-owned e-tailer Box Ltd has gone into administration.
Michael Lennon and Mark Blackman of financial and risk advisory firm Kroll were officially appointed as administrators of the Tamworth-based outfit on Friday, Kroll confirmed to IT Channel Oxygen today – a message that is now replicated on Box’s homepage:
“Please note that Michael Lennon and Mark Blackman of Kroll Advisory Ltd were appointed Joint Administrators of Box Ltd on 19 January 2024. The business has ceased to trade and all enquiries should be directed to [email protected].“
No more details were forthcoming at this stage, either from Tactus’ PR firm, or Kroll’s media team.
It comes less than two years after Box Ltd was acquired by consumer tech group Tactus, which ranked 38th in IT Channel Oxygen’s freshly published Oxygen 250 report into the UK’s top IT solutions providers.
Tactus CEO Scott Brenchley characterised Box Ltd as a “strong addition to Tactus” at the time it acquired the £100m-revenue, 140-employee e-tailer in March 2022.
It was among several quickfire purchases Tactus made during 2021 and 2022, bankrolled by successive investments of £10m, £40m and £13m from Arete Capital Partners, Chrysalis Investments and Satander, respectively.
In its latest annual accounts (filed in April 2023), Tactus said it had identified “a number of issues relating to the existence and valuation of inventories Box Ltd”.
Tactus launched an £18.4m lawsuit with Box Ltd’s former owners in April, according to Law360.
Tactus’ buy-and-build spree underpinned a 181% hike in revenues in its year to 31 March 2022. “Market-wide demand challenges” experienced since its year end resulted in “unprecedented discounting and promotional activity across our markets and hence downward margin pressure”, the firm noted in its accounts, however.
Jon Atherton, Director at distributor Ci Distribution, said: “It is such a shame to see an established and respected brand fall into administration.”
David Furby, CEO of PC builder, etailer and reseller Novatech, branded Box’s demise a “great shame”, noting that the retail market is “really tough”.
“We completely restructured our business in the summer of 2022, as we didn’t see retail coming back any time soon. Now it’s less than 10% of our business, and that’s where we’ll keep it for the time being,” he told IT Channel Oxygen.
“If you were relying solely on retail, I imagine it must be really tough.
“It’s always a shame when anything like this happens and we wish them the best. It’s very sad.”
IT Channel Oxygen will bring you more details once they come in.