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back to article Breathe Networks out, Breathe Internet in

The assets of Breathe Networks Ltd (BNL) have been sold to the company's CEO, Steve Kaye, in a management buyout just one week after the ISP went into administration. Kaye confirmed that a new company - Breathe Internet Ltd - had been incorporated on 13 May 2009, at the same Surrey-based offices as BNL. Kaye dismissed claims …

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Management buyouts

I've never understood how these work when a company has gone into administration. Wasn't it the management who were ultimately responsible for putting it into that position? Yet suddenly they have found a way to extract the assets at a cheap price.

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Still there?

" "Customers need to know things are OK. Their services are still there, we’re still there, although we’ve gone through administration, it’s all for the best really. And none of their services are altered, affected or lost," claimed Kaye. "

Do you think they'll still 'be there' if customers come looking for refunds/credits etc or will that be a case of "I'm afraid Breathe Networks took your cash and as we are a separate entity you will need to speak to the Administrators. Good luck!" ?

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Flame

"they have found a way to extract the assets at a cheap price."

"they have found a way to extract the assets at a cheap price."

This kind of practice is well known, e.g. in the building trade.

You set up a company, trade normally for a while to get a credit record, the management pay themselves a shedload of money. Then they buy and take delivery of a whole shedload of stuff to be invoiced after delivery, then they go bust before paying for it. Suppliers have supplied stuff and will never get paid for it. Employees may have worked and may not get paid for it.

Then you resurrect the company, maybe via buyout or maybe from scratch, with a slightly different name and maybe with slightly different people and maybe a different address.

If you play your cards right it seems quite easy to do this "legitimised theft" on a regular basis.

Nobody gets hurt, right?

Wrong. Those who have supplied goods or services (including the employees) and won't get paid get hurt. Customers who have paid in advance for things they'll never receive get hurt. Customers of the companies that got ripped off end up paying for the money that got thieved.

The UK legal system seems incapable of/unwilling to sortthis kind of behaviour.

As far as I can tell, the best answer in cases like this is to send the boys round to have a friendly respectful word from The Management.

Be careful out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing step 3!

1) Run up unsustainable debts

2) Put company into liquidation

3) Buy back assets at firesale prices and erase debt

4) Profit!

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FAIL

The truth?

So why have customers still been told absolutely nothing of this?

Customers of Breathe-owned Zetnet have lost conventional access to email and usenet since late June. POP3 email of many has been switched to the proprietary Zimacs and if it were not for the ingenuity of some customers who worked out how to collect (and decode) the email by ftp they'd probably still be without it.

The only reason for any customer to stay with Breathe is to preserve existing advertised email addresses and website addresses. Unless their existing email and website addresses are preserved they'll all be off.

Is it really beyond the technical competence of Breathe to send a notice to all customers? Or even to post it in Zetnet's "Message of the Day?"

Why should customers of whatever incarnation of Breathe believe anything that is being said by the "new" management?

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Re: management buyouts

Breathe is the cargo that has barely survived being salvaged from a long sequence of scuttled ships. This is at least the third or fourth time since 2003 that Breathe has disappeared up its own backside in this way.

One company is killed or allowed to fail, and all the debts etc are associated with that company, not the directors. New company, (here's one I made earlier, how fortunate) rides to the rescue, to buy up the business and assets through some kind of deal with the administrators of the old company, who is happy for any payment at all to try and fill the massive hole left by the debts.

See 'cleverview', 'vital data', etc., probably ad nauseam.

Interestingly, Unicorn Worldwide Holdings Ltd doesn't seem to be listed at Companies House. Am I mis-typing?

It may well be the same people behind it but if they aren't named as directors then they are technically not involved.

All technically legal, even if it does sound a dodgy way to do business.

Given their history, I'm surprised that anybody they deal with doesn't demand payment up front.

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FAIL

Still the same style of managment

To me this doesn't really seem much of a departure from the questionable yet legal management/advertising/PR style that Steve Kaye and Fast4 were synonymous with in the past.

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Is Steve Kaye lying or clueless?

As one of the customers of an ISP taken over by Breathe I'd love to know exactly why Steve Kaye thinks statements such as "The problems with email have been blown out of all proportion" could have any truth in them what-so-ever.

As well as not paying Spider Networks for the email services and thus losing original Breathe customers access to their emails, they also moved mail on other bought ISPs at the same time with some customer I know of losing mail access for 3 weeks!

So Steve - are you clueless about the company *you* ran into administration, or just being very conservative with the truth?

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Unhappy

bethere.co.uk/home

If you go to the url they show on the home page then you get a 404.

https://www.bethere.co.uk/home (after you accept their dodgy certificate)

http://travelingluck.com/www.bethere.co.uk_home.jpg

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FAIL

breathe deeply

was this the breathe that used to be part / owned by Martin Dawes back in the day.. if so it's gone titsup a couple of times previously n'est pas

Can't really see the point of the ISP game anymore. There's value if having loads of el cheapo consumers e.g. BT, Talk Talk, Sky especially where the service is sold as an add on to another service so the cost of acquisition is low. There's a market for the B2B players e.g. Star, Zen and then the niche for those that want super tech and don't mind paying for it served by the likes of A&A but the others??

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Anonymous Coward

"can't see the point of the ISP game"

Quite.

There's been a shakeup imminent ever since BTwoolsale were allowed to change pricing such that the end user's lines were a small part of the ISP's costs to BT and the interconnect between ISP and BTw's access network was a big (hugely overpriced) cost, leading directly to one or more of "traffic management", poor service or through-the-roof prices.

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WTF?

Lying turd

I'm especially enjoying the approx. 1/10th of the bandwidth I had as a Zetnet customer, the defunct email support, the new 60p-a-minute telephone-only support that cuts you off after keeping you on hold, being unceremoniously shunted to another ISP with a day's notice. Oh yeah, I'm feeling a truly valued customer. Thank god I've run my own email so I haven't been subjected to the "overblown" matter of several weeks' worth of bugger all.

I'm so glad I shall shortly be an ex-customer of his.

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Anonymous Coward

Rinse and repeat

As an ex-employee of Breathe, circa 1999 - 2001 when it was originaly created and owned by Martin Dawes in Warrington, I am completely unsurprised to see it in administration yet again. How many times is it now?

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