I-Level confirms liquidation as 18 Jam staff join Engine

12/05/2010

I-Level has gone into liquidation after failing to find a buyer, with communications agency Engine becoming the first firm to buy part of the one-time leading UK digital agency. The decision follows a dramatic winding down of the business following private equity firm ECI placing it into administration last week.

More than 90 jobs are believed to have been made redundant, and the closing down of the agency will have a knock-on negative effect for a number of high profile media owners. This includes Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, along with mobile operator Orange, who were working with the agency on various projects.

Corporate restructuring specialists, Zolfo Cooper have been confirmed as Administrators to I-Level. Joint Administrators Alastair Beveridge, Deborah King and Stuart Mackellar have finalised the successful acquisition of the company’s social media unit – ‘Jam’ – to communications agency, The Engine Group. It is understood that 18 I-Level employees will transfer across in the purchase.

12/05/2010

The acquisition will also see a transference of the unit's full, current business and a retaining of the existing Jam URLs: www.spreadingjam.com and www.spreadingjam.co.uk. I-Level's Football Association business, handled by Jam, has been included in the Engine deal.

Alastair Beveridge of Zolfo Cooper said: “We are pleased to have secured roles for 18 employees by way of The Engine Group acquisition. It’s also opportune to add that a significant percentage of the company’s other employees were quickly approached by competitor agencies. Our goal now is to realise the available assets to secure the best possible returns for creditors with regards to the rest of the business.

"We appreciate that this has been a difficult time for all of those who are associated with the company. We would like to thank them for their devoted support and patience,” Beveridge added.

A small number of I-level employees have been retained to assist the Administration process.

The remains of the agency are believed to have been placed under Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), although this has not been confirmed.

I-Level was founded in 1999 by Andrew Walmsley and Charlie Dobres, and its staff roster has grown to around 120.

In spring 2008 I-Level sold a 60 per cent stake to ECI, a private equity group, in a £45m deal.

I-Level’s clients included Procter & Gamble, The Sun, Orange, Sky, Fidelity, Macmillan, Renault Comet and Samsung, running a range of online campaigns including display ads, search marketing, social media and mobile marketing.

www.i-level.com

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