An attempt to buy BeatBullying before it went into liquidation failed because the charity did not comply with the buyer’s requirement that the founder and chief executive, Emma-Jane Cross, should step down and agree not to set up a rival organisation.
Documents seen by Third Sector show that a buyer made a written offer of £55,000 on 5 November to buy the BeatBullying Group and continue to operate the BeatBullying and MindFull websites. Under the agreement, all the charity’s staff except for Cross would have transferred to the new owner.
A source who asked not to be named said that the buyer would have invested about a further £450,000, which would have included paying £250,000 in transferring staff costs and about £97,000 to the charity’s technology creditors.
The source said that Cross would have had to step aside without compensation and agree not to compete with BeatBullying. The deal would have prevented her employing any BeatBullying staff or dealing with any of its customers or clients for six months.
Karl Wilding, a trustee of BeatBullying, told Third Sector in a statement that it was the decision of the potential buyers not to proceed and that it was "not appropriate to speculate as to reasons why".
He said that the trustees had received substantial support from the charity’s senior management team in their attempts to conclude a sale, and had worked hard with advisers to secure the best possible outcome for creditors.
Emma-Jane Cross could not be reached for comment.
Documents seen by Third Sector say: "It is the intention of the buyer that as soon as possible after the proposed purchase, the BeatBullying and MindFull service will be resumed for the benefit of the young people these services have been established to support."
BB went into voluntary liquidation on 7 November owing about £1m after it failed to secure grants worth about £2.3m from Department of Health and the European Commission.
Last week, Third Sector revealed that Cross and three other former executives of BeatBullying had set up a new company to support public services online.