Monday, 29 February 2016
And this particular game is Help Yourselves & Help Your Mates before even thinking of the unpaid workers:
An ambitious sports media venture backed by an elite of Australian politics, corporate and sport figures, including Liberal heavyweights Malcolm Turnbull and Nick Greiner, has collapsed and faces wind-up action by disgruntled former employees.
The brainchild of entrepreneurs, Melbourne-based advertising executive George Tomeski and Sydney's Luke Bunbury, PlayUp was spruiked in Australia and internationally as a world first in mobile-based, sport-focused, social media.
It attracted tens of millions from a star-studded band of investors including Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull and son Alex, former Telstra chairman Bob Mansfield, pub and pokie king Bruce Mathieson and ex-test cricketers Adam Gilchrist and Steve Waugh.
Founded in 2006 as a possible online gambling app, PlayUp appeared to be in serious trouble by 2014 after burning through $75 million raised from investors between 2007 and 2011, including from BRW Rich listers Allan Myers, QC, John Higgins and funds manager David Paradice.
Documents lodged with the Victorian Supreme Court reveal that six former employees are seeking to wind up Revo, claiming they're owed $500,000 in unpaid wages and superannuation.
One of the company's shareholders, Ben Smith has joined the action, claiming $100,000 in the name of his personal superannuation fund.
The legal stoush is likely to resurrect questions about the company's finances and what, exactly, PlayUp offered to lure such a glitterati of backers.
Sources said Alex Turnbull negotiated a secured debt status with PlayUp management in 2014, when former NSW premier Nick Greiner was chairman. Mr Turnbull is understood to be poised to strike a deal this week to sell his debt on to another party, in a transaction that will see him lose money on his original investment.
But the Turnbull family has still extracted more money from their investment than just about all of the high-profile shareholders in PlayUp.
Malcolm Turnbull was a PlayUp shareholder, buying $1 million worth of shares in PlayUp shareholder Revo Nominees in mid-2012. But in August 2013, he sold his stake after it was revealed in a Fairfax Media story that questioned whether his shares in a media company might be a conflict of interest given his role as communications minister.
Company records examined by Fairfax Media show Revo Nominees paid $921,478 when Turnbull & Co shares were transferred back to the shareholder vehicle in November 2013. At least a chunk of that is understood to have gone to the Turnbulls.