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blur Group – board changes, but can prospects be changed?

By Steve Moore | Wednesday 12 July 2017

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Having at the end of last week announced a conditional, bailout (and thus dilution-extraordinaire – a gross £1.75 million at 1.75p per share) placing, blur Group (BLUR) has now announced immediate effect “Board Restructuring”.

This confirms the departures of David Sherriff (Chairman), (ghastly) Kara Cardinale (Chief Delivery Officer) and non-executive directors Roger de Peyrecave and Rob Wirszycz and arrivals of David Rowe (as Chairman) and Preeti Mardia, Richard Rae and Richard Croft as non-executive directors.

The announcement notes Rowe has previously sold a UK listed global enterprise cloud services business to BSkyB, subsequently heading up B2B at BSkyB and now CEO of a venture capital investment company specialising in disruptive digital transformation.

Mardia is currently Senior Vice President Operations at Norway-listed fingerprint imaging and recognition technology company IDEX ASA and a director at NFC mobile marketing and smart-packaging solutions company ThinFilm Electronics ASA. Rae qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG, spent 22 years working in investment research and equities management and is now a management consultant and Croft is a solicitor with more than 20 years' experience of corporate and commercial law and specialises in TMT and new media commercial law.

All of the new arrivals have participated in the conditional placing and they look to have a potentially useful mix of experience. However, Warren Buffett has warned that even when a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that tends to remain intact.

David Rowe argues “a number of strong prospects in the pipeline” and the restructured board to seek “to ensure that the company has the right approach and support to convert these prospects into reference customers in the next 12 months and build on its A.I. capabilities”, having stated “Blur has promised a lot but is yet to deliver to shareholders”. Er, that’s one way of putting it David!

However, even with the conditional new funds, a quick financial turnaround is still needed and, at least until there is some clear evidence of that, certainly one I’ll continue to avoid.

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