Personal Group to axe Shebang brand after MVNO buy – but Iain Humphrey stays

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Shebang brand to disappear after 13 years following £1.3 million MVNO sale to Personal Group

The Shebang brand is set to be ditched after 13 years, following the completion of its £1.3 million sale of its MVNO business to employee insurance and financial services provider Personal Group.

The Shebang Network MVNO was created in 2011 and has more than 10,000 connections running off the Three network. It was the final asset of Shebang Technologies Group, founded by Iain Humphrey back in 2002, which at its peak was turning over £60 million. It had been in administration since 2012.

Milton Keynes-based Personal Group, formed in 1984, provides a number of business support services including insurance (income protection, health) and salary sacrifice schemes and   purchased Shebang to move into the mobile space.

Business to be merged

Speaking to Mobile News,
Personal Group CEO Mark Scanlon confirmed Shebang would be rebranded as Personal Group Mobile shortly and be merged into its existing business.

“The Shebang brand will stay in the short-term but not in the longer term,” said Scanlon. “We’re currently considering how the brand should look and it is an odds-on favourite that the Shebang name and brand will not survive.

He added: “We will follow our current model which is offering employee benefit schemes to employers across the UK and this will be a product available within that.  There are no plans to get rid of the existing B2B and B2C business. Shebang has been quite successful at growing the B2B business in the past and we will definitely be keeping that but our core focus will be around the salary sacrifice business.”

Humphrey remains

Scanlon confirmed all 40 Shebang staff (down from 240 in 2011) will remain, including Iain Humphrey in an as yet confirmed role. It will take numbers at the Personal Group above 220. There are no current plans to close Shebang’s office in Daventry, Scanlon confirmed.

Mobile ambitions

It is the second major acquistion from Personal Group in the past 18 months, after buying salary sacrifice technology firm Lets Connect, for £12 million. The firm, which has grown 40 per cent since its purchase, provides salary sacrifice services for a number of major organisations, including the NHS and Aviva. It has recently teamed up with Apple to offer products through the scheme including iPads, Mac computers and SIM-free iPhones.

Last year it had annual revenues of £28 million, and worked with more than 550 UK business (two million employees and managed more than 300,000 insurance policies).

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