Skillpages sold to for undisclosed sum

Bark is acquiring the intellectual property of Skillpages for an undisclosed sum, and is in discussions with employees about future prospects.

The sale was agreed by KPMG’s restructuring specialist Eamonn Richardson, Skillpages’ liquidator.

Bark is an online service for finding and hiring local professionals, and was founded by Andrew Michael and Kai Feller.

Serial entrepreneur Michael has sold businesses worth close to a combined €200 million. His first company, which he founded while still in his teens, sold for a reported €80 million.

“Skillpages has over 20 million customers, an extremely talented team and an outstanding technology platform,” Michael said on Friday. “They share our vision of making it easier for consumers and small businesses to find local services online.

“We are delighted to have purchased the assets of the company and look forward to working with the team.”

Founded by Iain MacDonald – who sold his first business, Perlico, for €70 million – Skillpages attracted investment from Michael Smurfit’s family trust, former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and tech tycoon Cyril McGuire, among others.

The state, through Enterprise Ireland, put in several rounds of funding in €250,000 tranches.

The company had been attempting to find a buyer for over six months when existing investors said they could not furnish further funds. Skillpages shut abruptly before Christmas with €24 million in debts and a liquidator was appointed.

MacDonald, a core investor, was replaced as chief executive by former Skype executive Laura Shesgreen a year ago and the company employeed Thirty-six people at the Skillpages’ Dublin office.