- Pedro Nunes/Reuters
- Scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica attempted to sell itself to more than 18,000 parties after going into administration in May.
- The company received just four offers to buy its assets, some for as little as £1 (76 cents).
- The administrators said the offers were “disappointing” and blamed an ongoing investigation by the UK’s data watchdog into Cambridge Analytica for buyer reticence.
- It now looks like Cambridge Analytica will be completely dissolved.
Scandal-hit political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica offered itself for sale to more than 18,000 parties after going into administration, but only received four paltry offers.
A report filed to the UK’s Companies House outlines how administrators for Cambridge Analytica tried to drum up as much cash as possible by selling the company.
The firm went into administration after a global crisis sparked by The Observer reporting in May that it illegally obtained millions of people’s Facebook data, potentially for targeted political advertising.
The UK’s data watchdog, the ICO, is also investigating the company for the way it obtained and used the Facebook data.
Commercial real estate consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton was appointed to prepare an “email taster” for Cambridge Analytica’s assets, which was sent to 18,000 parties in its buyers’ database.
The report boasts how Lambert Smith Hampton also advertised the sale on Twitter “which resulted in another 429 views.” The agent also cold-called prospective buyers.
- Companies House
In the end, just 13 potential buyers filled out the necessary paperwork, some of whom were based abroad. The report doesn’t name the potential buyers.
The 13 buyers were whittled down to four offers:
- £1 for the business and its intellectual property
- £10,000 / £15,000 for the company’s assets
- £1 for the name ‘Cambridge Analytica’
- £300 for the name ‘Cambridge Analytica’
Cambridge Analytica didn’t accept any of the offers, which “were all at disappointing levels.” The administrators blamed the ICO for seizing most the company’s laptops and servers, and said without that equipment they hadn’t been able to come up with a proper valuation. They are now proposing a compulsory liquidation, which would see Cambridge Analytica entirely wound up rather than sold.
Cambridge Analytica owes the shadowy Emerdata lots of money
The report, as first noted by The Financial Times, also references a shadowy successor to Cambridge Analytica called Emerdata.
Business Insider revealed earlier this year that several power players behind Cambridge Analytica had set up Emerdata. Its board members included Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, the daughters of billionaire conservative donor Robert Mercer. The company had originally been set up to acquire Cambridge Analytica and its affiliate SCL Elections and put them under one roof.
The report revealed that Emerdata was the ultimate parent of Cambridge Analytica and its sister companies. According to the filings, SCL Elections owes Emerdata some £6.4 million.