Telephone fundraising agency Listen, which earlier this year blamed GDPR for a collapse in the company’s business, is shutting up shop and has entered into administration.
The move comes six months after the agency entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to pay off debts of more than £650,000 following a “significant corporate restructure”. The workforce had fallen from 332 in March 2015 to 106 in February.
According to documents filed with Companies House, the company owed £319,000 to HMRC, £325,000 to leasing firm Stadium Investments and £7,000 to Listen’s parent company, TCLLH.
The company’s troubles started in 2017, when it cited the clampdown on charities – sparked by the furore surrounding the death of fundraiser Olive Cooke – for a slump in business which saw it going from making a profit of £1m to a loss of £200,000.
However, a Mail on Sunday investigation in 2015 accused the agency of using high-pressure fundraising techniques; a claim that was later upheld by the charity regulator.
In a statement, Listen said that no money was owed to its charity clients, and that it would be working to return all data to them over the coming weeks.
The agency added that it had explored all possible routes to keep the business going, including seeking outside investment and widening its offering, but ultimately, “it has become clear that the business cannot continue to operate in the current market. The only responsible option left to the directors is to put the company into administration and maximise the financial return to our creditors”.
The statement said: “We’d like to thank our clients, our dedicated and skilled management team, and the thousands of fundraisers who have walked through our doors in the past decade for everything they have done to make Listen the friendly, supportive and collaborative environment that it was.
“It is this attitude and environment that has allowed Listen to raise well in excess of a quarter of a billion pounds for charities large and small across the past ten years, and we’d like to thank our charity clients not only for their custom and their loyalty, but for the opportunity for everyone at Listen to play a significant part in leaving the world in a better place than we found it.”
Listen said it had raised over £250m for its charity clients in the ten years since it was founded.
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