Trouble in Utopia? As firm offloads Sentric to Believe, tax debt looms and employees go unpaid in Sweden

What’s going on in Utopia?

Today (March 30), MBW announced that it has sold its music distribution platform Sentric ARRIVE Trust – just a year after Sentric was itself acquired by Utopia.

The Sentric sale marks the second time this year that Utopia has sold back a company it previously purchased within the past 18 months: last month, Utopia sold music industry directory/data platform, ROSTR, back to its founders Mark Williamson and Adam Watson.

Meanwhile, Utopia is said to be sued by US music technology company SourceAudio, with the latter accusing the former of reneging on the agreed acquisition agreement.

Adding to this story: at the end of 2023 we learned that Utopia was how to break up with longtime CEO Markku Mäkeläinen, after a layoff ring in November is said to have affected 20% of the company.

Now, according to a shocking report from the Scandinavian news outlet Break itSeveral Utopia employees have recently gone unpaid, while a significant tax liability – also believed to be unpaid – is mounting the company in Sweden.

Furthermore, MBW is hearing rumors that Utopia is currently considering a quick sale for two recent UK-based acquisitions: Fit And cement.

Break it reported that Utopia’s Swedish company Utopia R&D Tech owes more than SEK 8 million (approximately $768,400) to Kronofogden, the Swedish Agency in charge of debt collection and enforcement of domestic court orders (i.e. bailiffs).

The report adds (translated from Swedish) that “there are a total of 19 payment orders [to Utopia from] A bailiff claims that has not yet become an established debt. Those requests range in size, from a few thousand kroner to millions.”

In addition, three ‘bankruptcy applications’ were directed by employees through their union, Akavia, to Utopia for unpaid retirement premiums.

An employee said Break it that they have not received a salary from the company recently, nor have they received their retirement benefits ‘for several months’.

Break it estimates that the November layoffs affected 20% of Utopia’s workforce.

A spokesperson for Utopia said Break it: “We sincerely apologize to all affected employees and emphasize that we are taking this matter very seriously. All late payments have been identified and will be resolved in the coming days.”

Break it report that Stockholm-based Utopia R&D Tech was formerly known as ISPY Group before being acquired in 2018.

Swedish company revenue, by Break itis SEK 67.3 million in 2021, with an operating profit of SEK 3.6 million and a workforce of 44.

MBW asked Utopia to comment on the situation with the company and its employees in Sweden.

A spokesperson told us today (March 30): “Utopia has grown extremely rapidly in two years. Our Swedish organization alone has more than 5 times the number of employees, this is one of our development offices.

“We processed over 300 million euros last year and continue to grow very quickly. We are now adapting our organization to market changes to ensure that we can continue to grow our business sustainably.

“All payments mentioned in the post have been identified and are being settled. We have established processes and structures to ensure that this does not happen again.”

impossible buy US-based ROSTR and Austria-based music data analytics platform, ForTunes, in December 2021, paving the way for the creation of Utopia’s Creator Services unit in 2022.

That acquisition is part of an acquisition of Utopia in recent years, with a string of UK-based acquisitions including: physical music distributors cement, Absolute label servicemusic publishing and publishing management company based in Liverpool Music group Sentricand UK-based distributor The right bandamong many others.

In April, Ulf Zick stepped down as Managing Director, International at Popular music Germany joins Utopia, the Swiss-headquartered fintech company led by Markku Mäkeläinen.

Six months after joining Utopia as Marketing Manager, Zick announced he left the Swiss company to return to work at Universal.Global Music Business


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