Shareholders in collapsed Yellow Pages publisher Hibu have accused the directors of a "conspiracy" to let the main company go bust while preserving the value of its subsidiaries for lenders.
“It stinks,” Barry Dearing, lawyer for the Hibu Shareholder Group, told the meeting, which the existing directors, including chairman Bob Wigley and chief executive Mike Pocock, refused to attend. Dearing seized control of the meeting in Reading, and shareholders appointed 10 new directors.
Phil Bowers, partner at administrators Deloitte, who chaired the meeting, said he was “happy to engage in dialogue” with the new directors, while insisting they have no executive powers because hibu was put into administration last Wednesday. The subsidiary companies have continued to trade.
Some investors complained of “daylight robbery” after Bowers explained that Hibu UK, a subsidiary of hibu Plc, had withdrawn funding to the group, which led to the directors calling in administrators.
Shares in hibu have been left worthless after being suspended in July when the company finally collapsed under £2.3 billion of debt.
More than 60 shareholders, mostly middle-aged private investors, came from as far as Doncaster and Leicester to the meeting at the Madjeski Stadium. Hibu directors have always insisted they acted in the best interests of the company and shareholders.