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Guvera fails to overturn ruling in dispute with former Blinkbox employees

By | Published on Thursday 23 November 2017

Blinkbox / Guvera

Defunct streaming service Guvera has failed in its bid to overturn the ruling in its legal battle with the former employees of Blinkbox, the British digital music company it acquired but then pretty much immediately shut down.

As previously reported, in January 2015, with global expansion very much on its agenda, Australia-based Guvera bought the music side of UK digital content platform Blinkbox from supermarket Tesco. Blinkbox Music had begun life as We7 and – like Guvera – had evolved its business from ad-funded downloads to ad-funded streams.

Despite expectations that Blinkbox would rebrand and become the UK outpost of Guvera, in June 2015 the British business fell into administration, laid off its staff and ceased operations. And Guvera never did launch in the UK.

Blinkbox employees subsequently took legal action against Guvera, with a legal rep declaring at the time that “at the point of the acquisition the employees received a written assurance from Tesco and Guvera UK that they would receive redundancy payments if cut backs were required – this agreement was not honoured”.

The former employees won their legal action. Aussie newspaper The Courier-Mail then published details of the judgement back in July, following the collapse of the entire Guvera company in May this year. Paperwork from the legal battle revealed inner turmoil within the Guvera management team back in 2015, and confusion between directors as to whether the company was actually buying Blinkbox Music or not.

Guvera appealed the ruling, but the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal has now seemingly declined to overturn the earlier judgement. In its appeal, the digital company argued that, before making the original ruling in the case, the court hadn’t properly considered issues of control at Blinkbox or when ownership of the UK entity had actually transferred to the Australian firm.

Commenting on the latest decision, Darren Herft, the Guvera co-founder left overseeing the company’s affairs since its collapse earlier this year, told The Courier Mail that the firm will now seek legal guidance in the UK as to what it might do next in its ongoing battle with the former Blinkbox employees.