Unilad to face HMRC in High Court in insolvency proceedings

Unilad says the HMRC bill will be 'resolved swiftly' / Unilad

Viral media company Unilad is set to confront the UK taxman as it faces insolvency proceedings, reports suggest.

The Guardian reports that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is acting against the viral publisher, having first launched a petitioned it in July. This process is commonly launched as a means of pursuing unpaid taxes.

The publisher issued a comment acknowledging that it is aware of the HMRC case. It told The Drum: “The situation with HMRC is being resolved swiftly.”

The case will be heard in the High Court next week. The publisher could face liquidation if it cannot meet the tax demands of HMRC.

The site, a Facebook-centric publisher, remains the fourth biggest publisher on the platform, according to research from NewsWhip. It was ranked below rival LadBible, Fox News and CNN.

The news comes after the group’s co-founder, Sam Bentley, resigned from the board and stepped down from his position earlier this year. This was sparked by an internal investigation into historic conduct at the company. David Sefton, managing partner of Linton Capital LLP, stepped in to fill his role in the interim.

Publishers have struggled to monetise Facebook after it altered its News Feed algorithm early in 2018 to improve the “quality” of user time spent on the platform. The tech giant increased visibility of relevant posts from friends and family to drive engagement and move away from clickbait and low-value content.

Manchester-based Unilad was founded in 2010.

The Drum has contacted Unilad for comment.

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