TweetDeck: Twitter Bosses Sent Closure Letter

Pete Norman, Sky News Online

Sky News has obtained a letter sent to one of Twitter's UK companies by the business regulator, giving it written warning of impending closure.

Cardiff-based Companies House sent the letter to the two American directors of TweetDeck, at their registered London address.

The letter, dated January 22, stated: "The Registrar of Companies gives notice that, unless cause is shown to the contrary, at the expiration of 3 months from the above date the name of TweetDeck Ltd will be struck off the register and the company will be dissolved."

The two directors are also top executives of the social media giant's San Francisco-based parent firm, Twitter Inc.

Dick Costolo is the social media giant's chief executive and Alex Macgillivray is general counsel and head of trust and policy.

TweetDeck is a platform used by 'power users' of Twitter and helps integrate the programme with other social media platforms, but has repeatedly failed to file compulsory accounts.

It was bought from British founder Iain Dodsworth in May 2011 for a reported £25m, but has not filed any accounts to Companies House since that time.

TweetDeck missed account filing deadlines last September and again last month.

In December Sky News revealed that both of the social media giant's British firms, TweetDeck and Twitter UK Ltd, had been fined £375 each by Companies House for separate filing oversight.

Twitter UK, which is controlled through a Dublin-based parent firm, subsequently filed its abbreviated accounts for 2011, revealing a profit of £16,500.

But TweetDeck has still not delivered accounts and has now been fined £750 and is now at heightened risk of closure and legal action.

According to Companies House, more than 2.7 million firms are actively registered and 99.1% are up to date in their filings.

Approached by Sky News, Twitter Inc declined to address the issue of continued regulatory filing problems in Britain.

Asked if it had plans to wind-down its UK subsidiary, a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement: "TweetDeck gives the Twitter experience more flexibility and allows advanced users to gain valuable insight into what's happening at this moment on Twitter.

"The TweetDeck team has been steadily innovating and improving the product, and we expect to see much more of that to come."

Last week Companies House informed the London Gazette of "a proposal to strike off" TweetDeck from the register.

The London Gazette is the official Government journal of record and allows officials at HM Revenue and Customs, along with creditors, to see firms at risk of being dissolved.

There is no suggestion TweetDeck has any outstanding tax liability.

Corporate solicitor Maung Aye, of Mackrell Turner Garrett , told Sky News: "Global companies usually have procedures in place to prevent problems like this arising in the first place. There should be clear lines of communication between the directors of the company and its professional advisors who would liaise with the directors to ensure the company’s accounts are filed on time.

"At this stage it is unclear why the company has not filed its accounts. One possibility is that the company is in financial difficulty and is therefore not opposing the striking off action."

Mr Aye added: "I would however, expect the directors of the company to be advised that they should respond to the letters from the Registrar, in order to avoid any potential criminal liability and the company being fined."