Total Telecom staff turn to lawyers in sale shock

Total Telecom: sold to Terrapinn

Staff on Total Telecom have taken legal advice after Emap sold their magazine to Terrapinn without consulting them.

The monthly B2B title, read by network managers in firms such as Cable & Wireless, BT and Vodafone, was sold along with its website and awards last month.

Although it is believed to have made a healthy profit at its peak, Total Telecom has struggled since the collapse of the dotcom boom.

Emap is understood to have decided to quit the telecoms market last November. The company said there were discussions about an MBO but it had decided not to pursue it.

The 11-strong team has just moved into Terrapinn’s headquarters in Hatton Garden.

Some have contacted lawyers who said they would have a case for compensation under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Act) because of the lack fo consultation, but liability would fall to the new owner.

“Staff were told the case is pretty clear cut but that they should think carefully before taking it further because it could poison their relationship with their new employers. Emap has got away scot free,” an insider said.

Sources say there are concerns among staff that Terrapinn is predominantly an events and exhibitions business and has little experience of magazine publishing.

Greg Hitchin, CEO of Terrapinn said the company was “really excited” by the magazine’s potential. “It is a tierone brand that fits well with existing Terrapinn brands and events such as Carriers World and Mobile Content World”, he added.

An Emap spokeswoman said it was either a case of “close it or sell it” – to a company which was going to invest in it. The sale follows the closures of The Face, J17 and Internet magazine in the past two months.

Simon Middleboe, managing director of Emap Media, said: “We felt that Terrapinn, with its existing interest in the telecoms market worldwide, offered a much better future for the Total Telecom business and people than within Emap.

“Within Terrapinn, TT will get the support and attention it deserves as a core brand at the very heart of their telecoms business.

By Ruth Addicott

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