Whitewater 'in memoriam' fundraising website could be sold today

Martin Smith, chief executive of Whitewater's parent company, says eight firms have expressed an interest in acquiring the Our Lasting Tribute service

Martin Smith
Martin Smith

The sale of an in-memoriam website fundraising service owned by the defunct direct marketing agency Whitewater could take place today.

Martin Smith, chief executive of Whitewater’s parent company, Involve Marketing Partnership, told Third Sector that eight companies were interested in buying the Our Lasting Tribute service but declined to name them.

He said none of the prospective buyers were connected to Involve Marketing Partnership or its subsidiaries.

He said he did not know how much would be raised from the sale, but it would not cover all of the £4.2m Whitewater owes to its creditors.

A report from Whitewater’s liquidator BDO, which was appointed at a creditors meeting last Thursday, shows Barclays Bank is the firm’s largest creditor. It is owed £3.8m in a cross-company guarantee for money lent to firms in the same group. Whitewater can repay £52,200 of that from current assets aside from any money raised from the sale of Our Lasting Tribute.

Whitewater also owes over £497,000 to companies and charities, including St John Ambulance, which is owed £705.56, and the law firm Bates Wells & Braithwaite, which is owed £600. The firm has assets to cover £16,800 of this part of its debt.

The British Heart Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support appear in the list of creditors but are recorded as being owed no money.

It also owes £30,000 to its employees but is able to repay all of this.

The money collected for charities by the Our Lasting Tribute service is not listed in the report because it is kept in a different bank account from the company’s other funds and is not part of the liquidation.

Smith said charities using Our Lasting Tribute had been receiving their money from the service and Whitewater’s finance director had been retained to ensure charities were paid.

He said 35 charities used Our Lasting Tribute to collect donations.

The buyer for the service would be chosen on the basis of how much they were willing to pay and what quality of service they could provide for charities using the website, he said. "It is about whatever value can be generated for the creditors but also the ability of the Our Lasting Tribute site to be fully operational," Smith said.

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