Whilst Boiler Room show their new owners around, are there implications for that £800k bailout from Arts Council England they got last year?

Since the news broke on Friday that Boiler Room has been bought by Dice for an undisclosed sum, there are a number of questions which remain unanswered. How much independence will Boiler Room have going forward? Will they now be charging people to watch their live streams? And how much is going to change for their employees?

The answers to these questions remain unclear at the moment. If founder Blaise Bellville knows the details, his mouth is remaining shut. As it is, incidentally, on the awkward question of how much money Bellville is personally going to earn out of the sale. An updated version of Resident Advisor’s article includes a statement from Bellville himself…

“I believe deeply that the best way for Boiler Room to evolve is by partnering with a company that values what we are today, and provides the tools we need to grow into the future – we play to our strengths and they to theirs. DICE’s belief in ‘powering’ us but allowing Boiler Room to remain our own independent entity, all of this will enable us to move into a new era and be the best version of ourselves.”

Boiler Room has been around for over a decade now. Despite the company coming in for criticism every now and then, the name is a well-known one. Dice would be foolish to change the name – for now, at least. History is paved with companies who pleaded their independence after an acquisition yet were later renamed – just ask the Midland Bank.

More questions come to light when you consider the bailout Boiler Room got last year. £791,652 of British taxpayers money came courtesy of government quango Arts Council England – and the terms and conditions any company receiving money from them are clearly published online.

In it, they state that any company which receives funds from them must “exercise pay restraint” for 18 months from the date the offer is accepted. And a 10% cut in salary all across the board is also something they must do to get money from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Now Boiler Room announced they’d been given the money on October 19th last year. And whilst the exact date of payment isn’t known, this would mean roughly 12 months had passed – with wage restraint expected to last until April 2022. What happens if the company is purchased by a new company – do the original terms still apply?

This isn’t covered on the Arts Council England website, so Amateur’s House has been in touch – they have not yet responded at the time of publication. But right now, what’s only thing we can be sure of? That Blaise Bellville is a much happier, if not yet richer, man this weekend…

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