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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Trouble in Utopia? As firm offloads Sentric to Believe, tax debt looms and employees go unpaid in Sweden

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Is bother brewing at Utopia?

As we speak (March 30), MBW broke the information that the corporate had bought music publishing platform Sentric to Consider – only one 12 months after Sentric was itself acquired by Utopia.

The sale of Sentric marks the second time this 12 months that Utopia has offloaded an organization that it beforehand acquired inside the previous 18 months: final month, Utopia bought music trade listing/information platform, ROSTR, again to its founders Mark Williamson and Adam Watson.

In the meantime, Utopia is reportedly being sued by US music know-how firm SourceAudio, with the latter agency accusing the previous of reneging on an agreed acquisition deal.

Including to this story: on the prime of 2023, we realized that Utopia was parting methods with long-time CEO Markku Mäkeläinen, following a spherical of layoffs in November that have been thought to have affected 20% of the corporate.

Now, in line with a bombshell report from Scandinavian information outlet Breakit, some Utopia staff have just lately gone unpaid, whereas a major tax debt – additionally reportedly unpaid – looms over the corporate in Sweden.

What’s extra, MBW is listening to rumors that Utopia is presently contemplating a fast sale for 2 extra of its UK-based current acquisitions: Correct and Cinram.

Breakit stories that Utopia’s Swedish firm Utopia R&D Tech owes over 8 million SEK (approx $768,400) to the Kronofogden, the Swedish Authority answerable for debt assortment and the enforcement of court docket orders within the nation (i.e. the bailiff).

The report provides (translated from Swedish) that “there are a complete of 19 fee orders [to Utopia from] the Bailiff, calls for which haven’t but grow to be a longtime debt. These necessities differ in dimension from a couple of thousand kroner as much as thousands and thousands”.

Moreover, three ‘chapter functions’ have reportedly been directed at Utopia by staff by way of their commerce union, Akavia, over unpaid pension premiums.

One worker advised Breakit that they haven’t obtained their wage from the corporate just lately, nor have obtained their pension premiums ‘for a number of months’.

Breakit estimates that spherical of redundancies in November impacted 20% of Utopia’s workforce.

A Utopia spokesperson advised Breakit: “We sincerely apologize to all affected staff and stress that we’re taking this matter very significantly. All late funds have been recognized and shall be resolved within the coming days”.

Breakit reports that Stockholm-based Utopia R&D Tech was beforehand referred to as ISPY Group earlier than it was purchased out in 2018.

The Swedish firm’s turnover, in line with Breakit, was SEK 67.3 million in 2021, with an working revenue of SEK 3.6 million and a workforce of 44 individuals.

MBW requested Utopia for a remark concerning the state of affairs with its firm and staff in Sweden.

A spokesperson advised us right now (March 30): “Utopia has grown extraordinarily quick in two years. Our Swedish entity alone grew 5x in staff, which is one out of a number of of our growth places of work.

“We dealt with greater than €300 million final 12 months, and proceed to develop very quick. Now we’re adapting our group to market shifts to make sure that we will proceed to evolve our enterprise in a sustainable method.

“All funds talked about within the submit have already been recognized and are being resolved. We have now arrange processes and buildings to make sure that this gained’t occur once more.”

Utopia acquired US-based ROSTR and Austria-based music information analytics platform, ForTunes, in December 2021, paving the way in which for the institution of Utopia’s Creator Companies unit in 2022.

That acquisition shaped a part of a shopping for spree at Utopia in recent times, with a string of UK-based acquisitions together with: bodily music distributor Cinram, Absolute Label Companies, Liverpool-based music writer and publishing administration firm Sentric Music Group, and UK-based distributor Correct Music Group, amongst many others.

In April, Ulf Zick exited his position as Managing Director, Worldwide at Common Music Germany to hitch Utopia, the acquisitive Switzerland-headquartered fintech agency headed up by Markku Mäkeläinen.

Six months after becoming a member of Utopia as Chief Advertising Officer, Zick introduced he was leaving the Swiss firm for a job again at Common.Music Enterprise Worldwide


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