GLIF Increases Stake in Platform Black

By Ryan Weeks on Monday 1 June 2015

Alternative Lending

GLI Finance has increased the size of its stake in the online invoice finance provider Platform Black.

Geoff Miller’s GLI Finance has held 20% of the equity in Platform Black since September 2013. That percentage has now jumped to 31.9%. The method of purchase was a share swap between Louise Beaumont, one of the Platform Black’s original Founders, and GLI Finance. Dr. Beaumont now holds the position of Head of Public Affairs and Marketing at GLIF, having transferred in November 2014.

In return for her shares in Platform Black, GLIF will issue 511,529 ordinary shares to Dr. Beaumont – representing a 0.2% stake in the equity of the company.

This exchange is one part of a wider sale of shares by Platform Black’s former management team, which valued the issued ordinary share capital of the company at £2.5m. When Dr. Beaumont hopped over to GLIF in November last year, former CEO Colin Levins also decided to take a step back. Caroline Langron, formerly a Managing Director at Bibby, acceded to the role of Managing Director at Platform Black. Ms. Langron commented on GLIF’s latest commitment to the platform:

“I am delighted that GLI, alongside Platform Black's board, management team and other external investors, have endorsed the new model for the business through increasing their respective equity investments.  I look forward to the future with cautious optimism and to building on the supply chain finance and partnerships businesses."

Two interconnected narratives underpin today’s news. The first is an acknowledgement that Platform Black has been through a rough patch, as exemplified by the various reshufflings of the management team. The second is that the company is now headed in a new direction, as evidenced not only by Ms. Langron’s comments but also by Co-Founder Christopher Shaw’s aptly titled guest contribution to AltFi News: “Alternative Finance grows up”. GLIF’s decision to increase the size of its stake in Platform Black feels like a strong endorsement of this new and conservative approach. Geoff Miller, Chief Executive of GLI Finance, clarified:

"Our decision to increase GLI's stake in Platform Black, along with other changes to its share register, reflects the significant recent operational and personnel changes made by the company's management. We believe that Platform Black today is a much stronger business than it was a year or so ago, with the resilient processes and procedures that give it the potential to accelerate profitable growth, through its supply chain finance and partnerships businesses.  The fact that we are happy to increase our stake in Platform Black, in exchange for new shares in GLI, reflects the confidence we have in the business."

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