Joost’s £14.3 Million UK Insolvency Bill

When Joost wound up its UK office last month, it looked like just a strategic response to it having given up on the VOD game.

But, in doing so, Joost UK Ltd declared itself insolvent, with deficiencies of £14.35 million.

The Companies House filing detailing Joost’s insolvency lists 54 creditors, including BT (NYSE: BT), PwC and select staff.

But most amounts are small. By far the most significant creditor was Joost itself. The Joost NV parent company is listed as being owed £7.098 million, to be paid through an address in the Caribbean tax haven of Dutch Antilles.

Why was Joost UK Ltd declared insolvent? Why did Joost make a claim on its own office? And was it this which pushed Joost UK Ltd in to insolvency?

Both Joost and its UK creditor David Rubin & Partners have declined to comment specifically on that, or on a C21 report that ad network Adconion, which is building up a video audience network, is now in talks to buy Joost assets.

Joost says “the (insolvency) action in the UK is a natural consequence” of the earlier strategy shift. Rod Reekin of David Rubin & Partners says Joost information was “commercially sensitive”. Adconion is part-funded by Joost investor Index Ventures, which isn’t talking either.

More from the filing…
— £7.07 million loss against Los Angeles-based Mobility Bridge Capital, a bridging loan provider.
— £331,086 loss against real estate investment manager LaSalle for Joost’s office costs.
— Administrators think they will make just £1 from Joost leasehold land and property valued at £231,599.
— Joost UK Ltd had just £73,508 in the bank when the insolvency was drawn up on October 2, leaving a total £172,842 available to pay preferential creditors.

Insolvency was declared after Joost said it wanted to switch from content portal to white-label video platform, and after Mike Volpi had left Joost’s London office as CEO to join Index Ventures as a partner.

But that’s when Joost and Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom accused Volpi and Index of conspiring to take with him parts of the vital P2P code that once powered Joost and which Skype uses under a disputed licence from Friis-and-Zennstrom’s Joltid company.

Their claim is that Volpi offered up the code to a consortium, including Index, that is buying 65 percent of Skype from eBay (NSDQ: EBAY), ensuring Skype could continue functioning. Index has said it will “counter this transparent agenda aggressively in the court system”.