Who's buying whom?

22 August 2000

KnowledgePool acquires Maxim Training

KnowledgePool, the e-Learning, IT and business skills training company, today announced its acquisition of Maxim Training, the second acquisition within a month. Maxim Training is one of the UK’s leading independent developers of CD-ROM and online multimedia training in personal and management skills for the corporate market. In a recent UK study by Televisual¹, Maxim Training was ranked eighth in the top ten online multimedia producers.”

2 April 2003

KnowledgePool acquired

KnowledgePool, Europe’s leading training provider, has been acquired by Maxim Training Corp (UK) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of TomaNet Inc. of Canada, effective 1 April 2003. Previously owned by Fujitsu Services Ltd, the company will continue to operate as KnowledgePool in the UK and the United States. A new division, KnowledgePool Canada, will be established by May 31, 2003.

Maxim Training Corp will create the world’s leading learning provider by building on the leadership of KnowledgePool in Europe and through the acquisition and consolidation of leading-edge content, technology, and service companies in North America.

While continuing to operate under the name KnowledgePool, the new company will trade publicly on the Canadian Equity markets as Maxim Training Corp (UK) Ltd.

Posted by Jay Cross at April 7, 2003 10:26 PM | TrackBack

Knowledgepool went into administration on 21st January 2004, less than a year after it was "acquired", and Fujitsu will be laughing that it has not picked up the redundancy payments it should have paid to those employees who lost their jobs in december 2003, in fact NOBODY paid them!.....nice excuse for a multinational to lose its commitments , selling to a shell company who cant survive ONE year.

Posted by: Clive at January 21, 2004 02:39 PM

I am horrified by what has happened! My wife worked for ICL/FUJITSU/KNOWLEDGEPOOL for 33 years. She has an excellent track record as a project manager and has been resposible for many successful delivery programmes.

About 5 months after the so called "sale" she was made redundant and offered 2 years redundancy money. Before it could be paid they called in the receivers. She now has absolutley nothing. In the space of 7 months she has lost her job, her income, some good pension rights .. and nobody seems to care.

Those that are intereseted may wish to read this:


This company couldn't even produce a set of accounts!!

FUJITSU must not be allowed to get away with this!!

Posted by: Robin Holland at January 24, 2004 05:37 AM

People who have been affected include current employees of the firm like myself who also have financial commitments such as mortgages and families to support. It is sad that people feel they need to compromise innocent parties like me and my 190+ colleagues whose income and futures are dependant on the continuation of this business. I am sorry for your loss, but 190+ redundancies on top of your problem will not help you...so give KnowledgePool's innocent staff who want to make a go of it a chance please!!!!

Posted by: Anonumous employee at January 26, 2004 05:38 AM

To the anon employee, thank you for your sympathies. I don't know of any evidence to support your claim of current employees being 'compromised' by former employees. Indeed, it appears to be former employees like myself who have been compromised! The fact is, you will still receive pay for your mortgage. There are those of us who have mortgages and were not given any notice of Knowledgepool pulling the plug on our promised payment of the thousands of pounds owed to each of us. For those of us fortunate enough to be eligible for benefit, we get 55 per week, nowhere near enough to pay most mortgages! At least you still have employment and I sincerely hope it continues. A few months ago, we were 'innocent staff who wanted to make a go of it' too. Unfortunately we were not given the chance either. There is little point in employees (past or present) pointing fingers at each other, because we all know exactly where the responsibility for this fiasco really lies.

Posted by: Anon Ex employee at January 26, 2004 03:12 PM

I think you are missing the point. Fujitsu is a huge multi-national company and you were all emplyees of FJ not Knowledgepool. Large corporations are always a mix of good and less good businesses and staff gnerally accept lower salaries than in small entrepeneurial outfits for the longer term protection this offers. Many timnes over the years my wife declined to move for a higher salary to protect her rights.

If FJ felt the business was failing they should have either paid the staff off or reused them elsewhere inside the corporation. They put together a wholly artificial funding vehicle which failed to achieve anything and never looked like it could. During the short life of this paper creation the staff had to use FJ offices, FJ cars, FJ phones, FJ toilets, FJ payroll systems, etc. that were all rented because the vehicle had no assets! TUPE is about the "Transfer of an Undertaking" to another going concern not this bit of smoke and mirrors. FJ own this pile of crap and they should be made to pay their dues to people who have spent their working lives in the organisation. I believe there is a substantial case here for constructive dismissal on a bulk scale and the paper trickery should be ignored.

FJ should wind the situation back to April and either re-instate staff elsewhere in FJ or pay their redundancy,

Posted by: Robin Holand at January 26, 2004 03:34 PM

Robin, You are absolutely right, you point the finger exactly where the blame lies. I could not agree more with your comments. Especially the one regarding there being a case for constructive dismissal on a bulk scale. When Fujitsu sold Knowledgepool, they knew Tomanet couldn't afford to pay in full, the bells would have rang then, but they chose to ignore them. I hope the chiming still rings in their ears when they try to sleep at night. Whilst every night myself and many other try to figure out where our next penny is coming from. They should feel ashamed of this, what kind of message does it send to their customers, I wonder? Do they care?

Posted by: Anon Ex employee at January 26, 2004 04:04 PM

Mass redundancies at KP brighton today (29/01/04). Strange that this was the only division that had made a profit in the last two months. Including most senior management and Technical Manager. Administration or Liquidation? See you at the Job Centre!

Posted by: Unpaid Contractor at January 29, 2004 12:17 PM

Is it possible to get a list of the people who have gone in latest cull because it cannot just be Brighton that was affected. I think the HR/Commercial man in Bracknell has gone as well.

Posted by: Anon Ex employee at January 30, 2004 04:59 AM

There were 4 from Stockport who went today and a number at Bracknell including the HR/Commercial man. Cannot provide a list sorry and prefer not to name names on this site because they may wish anonymity. If they wish to be known I'm sure they will find and use this site eventually. Sorry to hear of the redundancies, I am part of the Nov 03 cull and know how you must feel. Very best of luck to you all, you will need it.

Posted by: Anon Ex employee at January 30, 2004 09:28 AM

I understand about not naming names. What I was really asking is if there is number for those who went in Bracknell. 4 in Stockport + 12 in Brighton = 16. The rumour is 28 in total but it would be great to know the exact number. Bear in mind this is from a size of around 130 UK employees post the November shambles. Of course Canada was closed down at the same time. Does any one know about the homeworkers left in Dallas? It would be good to know exactly how many have been lost from how many.

Posted by: Anon Ex employee at January 31, 2004 10:03 PM

I don't know about Bracknell numbers but the one name that has not gone is that of the (mis)managing director - Michael Copestake. How can that man still be there after all of this? Not to mention his ideas of a management buyout so he can continue the sham. Add to his foolhardiness the neoptistic ineptitude of Rod MacDonald and his overweight cronies as they fleeced the company flying themselves and their families in business class around the world at the expense of the workers. Throw on a dolop of Fujitsu corporate sharp practice in selling the thing in the way they did, for the ends that they did. Finally, sprinkle with the topping and tailing of the only really sellable component, namely Brighton - just so it looks more attractive to a buyer. Of course, the administrators were never aided and abeited in this last bit by those running that particular show just so personal vendettas could be settled and, just as with the original sale by Fujitsu to Tomanet, exposure to large redunancy packages could be neatly and legally sidestepped.

Take all these ingreedients (sic) and you have the yet another cooking of books and company "law" to serve the interests of a few at the expense of many who simply cannot afford to have their lives and loyalties so obviously abused.

Something must be done but what?

Posted by: bitter lemon with a twist at February 1, 2004 05:04 AM

I read with interest the views on this page. A friend pointed me to it, whom I used to work with at KnowledgePool two years ago. He left for another job, and I (and 8 others) was made redundant shortly after.

I worked at the Brighton division of the company when it was Maxim Training, and watched with alarm as the small but profitable organisation was bought up, broken down, mismanaged, and generally destroyed by KnowledgePool. Combine overpaid and narrow minded middle management with incompetent and conservative overpaid senior management who are unable to listen to or trust production staff and you are on to a loser.

After massive redundancies at KP during 2001 which were handled 'correctly', it was a large shock to be one of the 9 made redundant in 2002 by way of a five minute meeting and to be frog-marched out of the building, largely in secret. Nearly eighteen months later, three of these 9 staff (myself included) finally won a case of unfair dismissal against KnowledgePool, after a lengthy legal battle. During this time, I was even more shocked to find that the sheer stupidity of the day-to-day managemnent I had experienced while working there, was stupendously eclipsed by the gross incompetence exhibited by KnowledgePool during this case.

Sadly, I have very little positive to say about my experiences at the company after Maxim was bought by KnowledgePool. In some respects I am lucky I was made redundant when I was. At least I benefited from a very small payout which none of my ex colleagues/friends can expect once the company enters administration.

On buying Maxim, the then CEO gave a 'wonderful' pep talk to his shiny new asset by stating that he envisioned KP being a household name within five years for e-learning/training. It looks like that could well be the case, but for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by: Matt Hill at February 3, 2004 02:20 PM

Sorry to hear your experiences Matt, but I am glad you managed to get justice in the end. I hope you don't mind me asking if your lawyer managed to secure you a decent compensation package at the end of long legal battle. If so then his experience of fighting KnowledgePool and Fujitsu may mean that perhaps he would be capable of taking on a case for the more recent casualties.

Posted by: bitter lemon with a twist at February 3, 2004 03:39 PM

Bet you won't hear from Matt because he did not really win. He and his other bitter friends got nothing because they had shite advice and greedy minds. They got treated fairly in the circumstances and were offered plenty of money but took it all too personal. Take that as a lesson for the rest of you who have lost out more recently. It's business! Bleating on about your situation is not going to change anything. They don't have any money to pay you and you might as well get used to it. For the sake of those left why not shut up and get on with your lives instead of moaning and blaming the corporate way. You all lived the life for how ever many years you did, played the game, climbed the ladder. Now you are all moaning just because you were too stupid not to know you were being roasted all along.

It's tough but put up and shut up. Please.

Posted by: keeping it real at February 5, 2004 04:02 PM

We won the case for unfair dismissal and yes you are right, we did not receive a penny from the tribunal.

You should understand that this wasn't about the money and never was. It was a matter of principal. If it was about money we would have walked away a long time ago.

Treated fairly? Funny how the tribunal didn't think so. Bleating on? I accepted the outcome fair and square and moved on a long time ago. Sharing my expereinces with others is not bleating.

Keeping it real? Give me a break! You don't even have the balls to post with a real name, though I can make a good guess. Like everyone else at KP, you have no spine, no ethics and no principals. Too busy covering your own arse to worry about anyone else.

Posted by: Matt Hill at February 5, 2004 06:48 PM

Chiming in for those from the US. After our last round of dismissals, I think approximately 4 are left here. Most of us, myself included, were let go a very short time ago and some were promised redundancy pay. Of course, I have a feeling they knew they would never have to pay out due to how close all of this played out. Turns out we too were left high and dry. I think Tomanet or what ever they are calling themselves now got exactly what they wanted. They got their fee ($150,000 at least for each so I am told) for bring the "deal" together and then they got whatever they could get while they were bringing it all down. I can bet you while others were not getting paid and bills were being left overdue that they got their overpriced salaries and additional perks while we all got the shaft.

Posted by: Another unlucky one at February 6, 2004 07:07 PM

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