UK viral content company Unilad goes into administration

A screenshot of the Unilad Facebook page.
A screenshot of the Unilad Facebook page. Photo credit: Facebook/Unilad

The firm behind UK viral content publisher Unilad called in administrators, owing a debt of £6.5 million (NZ$13 million), including £1.5m (NZ$3 million) in tax.

Bentley Harrington owns the Facebook account that has accumulated 39 million followers for its posts of viral videos and news stories, The BBC reports.

It employs more than 200 people and was named one of Facebook's most popular pages in 2017.

Manchester-based administrators Leonard Curtis Business Rescue and Recovery are currently looking for offers to buy the business and maximise the return to creditors.

A joint offer of £10m (NZ$20m) has already been made by Linton Capital and Rocket Sports. According to the Guardian the offer is far below previous valuations for the company.

Linton Capital partner David Sefton is currently interim chief executive of Unilad and says he has known the company for some time.

He told the BBC all the money necessary for the offer has already been secured. Other parties are understood to be bidding, but the Linton Capital bid is the first formal offer.

The Guardian reports Linton Capital has already written up a list of which staff to let go should the offer be accepted.

Unilad was originally founded in 2010, but shut down in 2012. It was relaunched in 2014 under new owners Liam Harrington and Sam Bentley.

The administration was forced by a hearing at a specialist Insolvency and Companies Court in London. A creditor and directors of the company agreed administrators should be appointed.

Original Unilad co-founder Alan Partridge told the court the company owed him £5m (NZ$10m).