About Magenta Partners
Magenta Partners is a private equity firm that typically targets opportunities requiring investment of up to Â£15 million (although in certain instances are able to access much larger pools of capital) and are comfortable in the following types of transaction: Development Capital; Growth and Management Buy-Outs; Recapitalisations; Public to Privates; PIPES (Private Investment in Public Companies); and Project Finance. The firm backs entrepreneurs and management teams in businesses or projects where major opportunities to create value for shareholders exist via growth, transition or a specific event (e.g. legislation).
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Latest Magenta Partners News
Apr 8, 2023
The high-end furniture maker was sold to a buyout specialist last year. Now customers and staff say they are stumbling through a paper trail to recover what they are owed Sat 8 Apr 2023 11.00 EDT On the surface, the luxury furniture brand Maker&Son seems to offer the perfect retail experience, if you can afford it. Its website shows a young woman with her eyes shut, resting on a handmade couch. A large sofa costs up to £11,000 and a deposit of almost £6,000 is needed to secure it. Products are made from “natural sustainable materials” and a plethora of five-star reviews appear from happy customers. But a closer look at Maker&Son reveals a different story – one of contested insolvency, allegations of debt owed to suppliers, unhappy customers and former staff claiming they have not been paid pension contributions. Those unhappy customers include some high-profile names, such as the former adult film actor Mia Khalifa, who claims to have lost thousands, and rants at the “heathens” who took £4,000 from her for a cloud chair. Maker&Son was founded in 2018 by Alex Willcock and Felix Conran, grandson of the Habitat founder Sir Terence Conran. It started out selling high-end ethically produced furniture from a farm in West Sussex, employing about 70 staff. Yet despite rapid growth and expansion in Australia and the US, raising millions of pounds from private equity investor Magenta Partners and reaching a reported £55m valuation, the business struggled to keep up with orders. Hurt by high manufacturing costs and the impact of Covid on supply chains and manufacturing, it slumped to an operating loss of £1.9m for the year to the end of February 2022, and failed to secure fresh funding. Then, late last summer or autumn, Maker&Son was sold to a serial acquirer of companies, Jack Mason, whose company Inc & Co is controlled by an entity registered in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. But the deal soon ran into a quagmire of difficulties and legal claims. It emerged in court filings that the company was bought after it had been made insolvent, due to a winding up petition served by DHL in September 2022 – the second such petition the logistics company had served against Maker&Son. After buying the furniture company, Mason transferred its assets, including the brand, to a new company he set up called Maker&Son Ops, documents reveal, with nothing left behind but an empty shell of a business. But those who were owed money – including DHL and Barclays as well as customers – argued everything he took was actually theirs. Inc & Co says it was unaware of these issues when it bought the firm. In early March, Maker&Son Ops was itself put into liquidation by another Mason outfit, Maker&Son Holdings. Its demise left about £5m owed to creditors. Serial entrepreneur Behind all this is Mason, a serial entrepreneur who, according to his personal website , got a taste for business when he started selling gobstoppers at school aged 15. According to an interview in the Manchester Evening News in 2018 , that entrepreneurial streak goes back even further, to selling perfume made from rose petals to neighbours. Mason has 90 director appointments under his name, according to Companies House, and lists his address as Barcelona in Spain. “I empower businesses and the people in them to realise their full potential,” he says on his LinkedIn profile. He has two nationalities against his name and at least four dates of birth – including June and November 1989 – making him about 33 years old. However, he says these are mistakes from Companies House that Inc & Co has tried to rectify. Inc & Co says it “acquires distressed companies, usually through an insolvency process”, but Mason has previously been accused of failing to cooperate with insolvency practitioners. Legal challenge A legal challenge over his takeover of Maker&Son soon ensued, ending up in the high court. Liquidators from FRP, who were hired to represent creditors and extract as much value from the bust business as possible, said they were worried “by the nature [and timing]” of attempts to move assets, according to filings. The fact that the assets and business of the company were transferred to companies … connected to Mason at a time when the company was insolvent … gives rise to concern Judge David Worster Even the date of the sale, and whether it took place in August or October, was contested in court, with FRP accusing its new owners of backdating documents, although evidence for this was inconclusive. It was claimed by FRP that an unidentified party “erroneously” alleged on Companies House documents that the secured debt owed to Barclays by the furniture firm had been satisfied. Barclays had become a creditor after buying Magenta’s debt. It was also claimed that money lent by the British Virgin Islands-based entity that controls Inc & Co was also registered without permission, and FRP accused Mason and his team of giving “extremely limited” cooperation. In November, the high court ruled in creditors’ favour and said that because assets were transferred when the company was insolvent, any goods and capital should be returned. In his judgment, Judge David Worster concluded that Mason had applied on a “false basis” to allow the original Maker&Son to continue to trade after the winding-up petition was served and highlighted the questionable transfer of certain key assets. Mason apologised to the court for “errors” but said he had not sought to deliberately mislead. Yet the judge said the way Mason had put his case was “not an error”. “The fact that the assets and business of the company were transferred away from it to companies in the control of, or connected to, Mason, at a time when the company was insolvent … gives rise to concern,” the judge said. In the months that followed that damning judgment, Maker&Son, under its new ownership, has continued to trade. Customers say they have paid huge deposits for furniture they have not yet received.Ratings website Trustpilot is littered with their complaints. It is not only customers who feel aggrieved; former staff say they are also out of pocket. One former employee claimed that pension contributions had not been paid since the new owners took over, instead showing as “pending contributions” on their bank accounts. Those contributions total hundreds of pounds each month for an estimated 50 employees. Because the original company went into liquidation, Mason said that the money for their pensions would come from those in charge of winding the company up. However, staff have been unable to work out how to get the money back. Missing assets What happened to Maker&Son’s assets remains in dispute. Former staff claim that Mason has tried to move stock twice to hide it from administrators, once in November and then again in December. “There were lorries that came and moved a lot of stuff away,” one person claims. Another former staffer said: “When I was there the administrator would turn up and they would try and get into the building. We were told to sit there. After they left, they wanted to move all the stock out of the warehouses so the administrators could not get hold of it.” The judge’s hearing noted administrators first came to the premises in October 2022, and that Mason was reluctant to engage with them. It was noted that they “got off on the wrong foot”.
Magenta Partners Investments
Magenta Partners has made 13 investments. Their latest investment was in MOTOSUMO as part of their Series A on March 3, 2021.
Magenta Partners Investments Activity
Magenta Partners, and Undisclosed Investors
Private Equity - II
Magenta Partners Fund History
2 Fund Histories
Magenta Partners has 2 funds, including Magenta Partners Fund II.
Magenta Partners Partners & Customers
1 Partners and customers
Magenta Partners has 1 strategic partners and customers. Magenta Partners recently partnered with Bridges Fund Management on December 12, 2015.
Bridges will work in partnership with Magenta Partners , which founded Viva in 2011
Bridges will work in partnership with Magenta Partners , which founded Viva in 2011
Magenta Partners Team
1 Team Member
Magenta Partners has 1 team member, including current Founder, Managing Partner, Chase Emson.