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Marketing group Fuse 8 considers sale or delisting after trading woes

When a company’s board asks its chief executive for a trading update, it does not normally lead to a crisis.

But that’s what seems to have happened at Aim-listed digital marketing group Fuse 8. In an extraordinary statement to the stock exchange, the board said it asked the chief executive for a review of the company’s performance and an estimate for the remainder of the year, but he had not provided the information.

Instead he offered his resignation on 26 August, which was not accepted. But last week – following “the discovery of other issues” – the board began a review and the chief executive “has been relieved of his duties for the present time.”

[Strangely the chief executive - Nigel Hunter - is never referred to by name in the statement.]

The upshot seems to be that the performance for the six months to the end of June will be below expectations, and the board was not sure it would meet full year expectations. This compares with an upbeat statement about prospects at the time of the company’s full year results at the end of June, when Hunter said demand for its services remained strong.

So the non-executives are now considering the nuclear options: delisting from Aim and reorganising the company, or selling its operating businesses and turning into a cash shell. It also made clear it has not considering any offers for the company at the moment.

The board says the news will be disappointing for shareholders and staff – a bit of an understatement, given the shares have slumped 28% to 16.5p and the company’s future is uncertain. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds