Conference and event organiser Neil Stewart Associates (NSA) has been sold within three days of going into administration.

Andrew Stoneman and Matt Bond, from the financial advisory and investment banking firm Duff & Phelps, were appointed joint administrators to the firm, which hosts events in sectors including further education, on March 5.

However, on March 8, the administrators confirmed that a sale had been agreed, although the buyer is yet to be identified.

NSA told FE Week that “a substantial investment in online television, the scale of training and conference cutbacks in the public sector and the lack of bank finance for small businesses” had been the factors leading to administration.

Neil Stewart, chairman and chief executive of the firm, said: “We have appreciated the support from delegates, partners and speakers at a difficult time and we are determined to keep innovating on events to meet the challenge of an online future.

“The new investment makes that possible.”

At the time of going to press, the joint administrators told FE Week that they hoped to have the sale finalised within days.

A spokesman for Duff & Phelps said: “Andrew Stoneman and Matt Bond, joint administrators for NSA, have confirmed that they have agreed a sale of the business and assets of the company and contracts have been issued.

“The administrators are aiming to conclude the sale within the next 24-48 hours. We are adding nothing further at this stage.”

NSA which employs 20 members of staff, has been producing public policy conferences and events since its establishment in 1994.

They work with public bodies, membership associations, think tanks, campaign groups, voluntary organisations and the commercial sector.

The firm is due to hold a conference on Information, Advice and Guidance on Thursday and Shared Services for Further Education on March 26.

The events will still take place as administrators had been running the firm as a “going concern” prior to the sale.

Independent to the conference division, NSA also offers a press and public relations, campaign planning and communications consultancy service.

At the time of going into administration, Mr Stoneman said: “The conference sector is one that has been particularly badly hit by the downturn in corporate discretionary spending in recent years, no more so than in the public sector.

“The company has a prestigious client list and we are actively seeking a buyer for the business as a going concern.

“We are reviewing all options and for the time being it is business as usual whilst we conduct our search.”

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