Nirvana founders wrest control from collapsed parent

By Rhys Handley, Thursday 22 November 2018

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Nirvana CPH’s previous owners have regained control of the creative print services business following the fall into administration of majority shareholder Paperhat Communications earlier this month.

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Nirvana CPH was acquired by Paperhat Group in 2016

According to documents filed at Companies House, on 14 November Paperhat Communications was no longer "a person with significant control" of trading entity Nirvana Solutions, and on the same day Nirvana directors Garry Stiff and Spencer Wallace were listed as having significant control, with a confirmation statement listing Stiff and Wallace as each owning a 50% stake.

Stiff and Wallace sold a 51% controlling stake in the business to Paperhat in 2016, with the two staying on to oversee their company as it merged with the wider group. At the time, it was hoped that Nirvana would migrate into a shared headquarters with its new parent, although it has until now remained at its base in Hoxton, East London.

Stiff and Wallace have yet to respond to request for comment, with some suppliers finding the circa-£6m-turnover creative house equally tight-lipped.

One print supplier said: “We haven’t had much communication, and I think stakeholder management is one of the key things at a time like this.

“I have had assurances that the plan is for everyone to be paid. Clients and suppliers are pretty crucial when you sit in the middle of them.”

In a brief statement, Paperhat Communications administrator FRP Advisory said: "The original owners acquired the shares of Nirvana back and will be taking the business forward.

"This was part of a solvent sale, with no staff, assets or projects being affected.”

Speaking when Nirvana joined forces with Paperhat, Stiff and Wallace hoped to take advantage of the global platform the group could offer.

Nirvana’s client roster is a who’s who of leading brands across fashion, automotive, luxury goods, sportswear and retail including Adidas, Burberry, Gucci, Liberty, Mercedes Benz, Nike and Sony.

Paperhat Group chief executive Tim Peppiatt confirmed the sale of Nirvana, but declined to comment further.

On 9 November, Paperhat Group's £14.5m-turnover subsidiary Paperhat Communications was bought in a pre-packaged administration deal by Paragon, which plans to integrate the business into its Graphic Services division.

At the end of last week, FRP Advisory said that it was advanced sales talks for the remaining Paperhat Group companies, which include the core print management business and acquisitions including Despark and CTI Digital and clarified that they were not in administration at the time.

However at the time of writing there was no further update from FRP on the sales process or trading status of the companies.

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