Hot Tuna agrees £950,000 asset sale after losses

Hot Tuna, the Aim-quoted surf wear and fashion brand, has agreed to sell all its assets for £950,000, with the buyer rumoured to be Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

The company put itself up for sale to the highest bidder after suffering losses of £862,000 in the year to 30 June, when sales more than halved to just £207,000.

The brand originated in Australia in 1969 “to serve the demands of sojourning surfers” and was bought from a consortium of investors in 2005 before listing on the London market, where it appointed supermodel Elle Macpherson to its board.

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It announced yesterday that it had sold its domain names, trade marks and other assets to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brands Holdings.

The deal needs the approval of Hot Tuna’s shareholders at a general meeting on 6 February.

If the sale is approved, the company expects to be left with about £600,000 after settling its remaining liabilities. The board is planning to keep the company alive as a cash shell and look for opportunities to acquire another business in a “reverse takeover”.

The directors hope to find a firm operating in the technology, media or entertainment sector. They plan to rename Hot Tuna but keep its listing on the Alternative Investment Market, which could be attractive to a takeover target.

The plan would see a number of directors step down and Mark Barney Battles appointed as non-executive chairman.

DOMINIC JEFF