Time Out Tycoon Enters Race For Bust IT Group

Mark Kleinman, City Editor
Time Out Tycoon Enters Race For Bust IT Group

The entrepreneur behind the Time Out listings magazine is among a pack of predators circling the IT services group 2e2 less than two years after it received a takeover bid valuing it at more than £350m.

I understand that Daisy Group, the telecoms services company whose backers include Peter Dubens, one of Britain's most successful businessmen, has expressed an interest in acquiring the divisions of 2e2 which yesterday fell into administration.

A number of private equity groups and specialists in buying distressed companies have also registered an interest in taking control of 2e2, which offers a broad range of IT services.

The company, which is part-owned by Duke Street Capital, the private equity firm, was founded only 11 years ago but grew through a string of acquisitions, including the £70m takeover of Morse, a listed rival, in 2010.

Mr Dubens made his name partly as a shrewd builder of technology-related businesses and has brought a number of companies to the public markets, including 365 Media Group, which was eventually bought by BSkyB, the owner of Sky News.

He is now the executive chairman of Daisy, which has a market value of more than £250m and as the boss of Oakley Capital, a private equity firm, he also owns the Time Out listings magazine.

The professional services firm FTI Consulting has been appointed to oversee the administration of the UK subsidiaries of 2e2, while its operations in other markets including the Netherlands will continue to trade normally.

2e2 is based in Berkshire and employs about 2,000 people, roughly three-quarters of whom work in the UK.

Neither 2e2 nor Daisy could not be reached for comment.