What’s Happened to TradingPartners?

Earlier this morning, Peter Smith posted the following on Spend Matters UK/Europe: What's Happened to Trading Partners?. He received a tip yesterday that Trading Partners has disappeared from their London offices, and attempted to reach out:

I've tried to get hold of Richard Adams, the London based CEO of the firm, last night and today, with no success -- which can happen, of course. Yet their office telephone lines in London and Chicago appear to be out of action -- not a good sign (but potentially just an IT failure). I'm also now hearing rumours from other sources that there may be problems – but only rumours, I'd stress.

Further investigation turned up the following press release, sent by law firm Baker Tilly's Head of PR, who said "Our Restructuring and Recovery team has asked me to forward a release that we've just issued about Trading Parts.com – I've pasted it below. I'm afraid I don't have any further details at this stage, but I hope this is of use." See it here:

Press Statement
Date 12 September 2012

Graham Bushby and Bruce Mackay of Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP have been appointed Joint Administrators of Trading Parts.com Ltd.

Trading Parts.com Ltd provides spend management technology products and managed services to retailers and other corporations.

The company operated in the UK under the trading style 'Trading Partners.com' and a wholly owned US subsidiary conducted business in the US under the same trading style.

I spoke to Jason Busch, who had the following to add:

  • TradingPartners had been for sale throughout much of 2012. It appears there were no interested parties in the end who completed a transaction which resulted in the company shutting down
  • We expect one of the lessons here to be the importance of providers sticking with their core (i.e., small services-driven firms should not invest too much of their efforts in software because it can be a distraction -- and vice versa)
  • Organizations working with smaller firms (software/professional services) should do their homework to check the health of the company. Moreover, just because a company is backed by a venture capital firm or investors does not guarantee its health. There was evidence of challenges facing TradingPartners (which we explored on Spend Matters previously) going back a number of years

Anyone have something factual to add -- or additional observations? We'll continue asking around and report more tomorrow.

- Sheena Moore

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