EP completes Axium deal


Payroll and production management services company Entertainment Partners has completed its acquisition of a number of key assets of the bankrupt Axium International.

With a winning bid of $7.05 million, EP agreed to purchase the assets and assume none of the liabilities of Axium International through bankruptcy proceedings in late January. Included in the acquisition are software assets and the servers housing those assets. EP did not acquire accounting or payroll data but made arrangements to assist the trustees' delivery of confidential information to the appropriate parties.

EP spokesperson Ron Cogan said Friday that the employee-owned company already has taken on some new clients that are former Axium clients, hired several former Axium employees and would continue to hire former Axium employees where EP could accommodate them. Cogan said EP has more than 500 employees.

Meanwhile, as the liquidation process continued, the last set of W2s were mailed late last week to those impacted by the sudden closure of Axium. At that point, all of the required 130,000 W2s and about 8,000 1099s were sent, according to court-appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg. "It was a huge undertaking, and it involved lots of people volunteering their time, including a large number of people who work at EP in New York, who went to the New York office of Axium and helped stuff envelopes."

He added that schedules are being prepared for all 37 Axium companies. "When that happens, we will then be able to send a notice to all the creditors -- who will finally be identified -- with the opportunity to file their claims with the court," Ehrenberg said. "I have commenced my investigation into what happened and whether or not there are any claims that can be brought to try to recover funds."

Axium filed for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in early January.

On Jan. 15, GoldenTree Asset Management -- the primary lender to Axium International -- and GTAM Special Reality filed suit against Axium's former chairman and CEO John Visconti, vice chair and COO Ronald Garber and others, claiming that they looted the assets of Axium to fund their "extravagant lifestyles." In papers filed in U.S. District Court, GoldenTree claims at least $87.5 million in damages.

Ensemble Chimes Global, the staffing arm of Axium, was sold at auction Jan. 23 to MPS Group for $8.1 million.