Until the Chinese began producing the rather attractive MG6, the initials "MG" had been ill omens for at least ten years to all who approached them. The era of the Phoenix Four – former MG execs John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards, who bought the company from its previous owners, the badly burned and hastily retreating BMW, for £10 – was just an especially nasty capstone. Their collective £10 investment turned into millions of pounds for each of them but nary a car made before they declared bankruptcy and closed up shop. According to a government report that cost £16.3 million to produce, however, the Phoenix Four didn't break any laws.

After all that, there's one more unsavory epilogue. There were 6,500 workers at MG's Longbridge factory who left with nothing when Phoenix went bust. After everyone else took their share of the heavy amounts of cash that passed between boardrooms, there is £22,000 ($35,523 U.S.) for final payouts for the workers. That means they'll each get a check for £2.50 ($4.04 U.S.) – it would have been £3, but according to the report at AOL UK the cost of the stamp needed to send the check comes out of the check.

Before the politics begin, yes we know this is how business works; the Phoenix Four only did what the laws of the land allowed, and that's as far as you need to look for ruthless reason and rationale. Or you could paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson and say that some get rich and fat, others, well, don't. Regardless, the MG trustees are appealing to the four directors to personally contribute to the worker payouts, but the odds on that are quite long.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      T. C.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mitt Romney read this article and creamed his magic underwear.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @T. C.
        [blocked]
      Doctor Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Phoenix Four certainly lined their pockets nicely before jumping ship, I have no interest in trying to defend their actions, but it's patently false to state "nary a car made before they declared bankruptcy and closed up shop". The John Towers MG-Rover experiment did turn out a few hundred thousand MGFs/TFs, ZRs, ZTs, ZSs and the Rover counterparts to the ZR/ZS/ZT over the course of five years. Even a handful of SVs. More than "nary a car". Management of the company under these knuckleheads was disastrous enough to be judged on it's own merits (i.e. accumulating £1.4 billion in corporate debt in just five years despite a substantial dowry from BMW, leading on the workers with schemes that had no chance of success, screwing and/or destroying numerous parts suppliers/subcontractors, and hoovering in government prop-ups all while fattening their own wallets) without throwing on inaccurate hyperbole. And frankly I think MG would have been much better off had BMW's original suitor (Alchemy) gotten the keys instead, rather than John Tower (lauded by many at the time as a knight in shining armor, saving Rover from merciless asset strippers). Alchemy understood that the only viable future for the company was a niche manufacturer of specialty cars, not as a high volume mass market producer. Looking back it's hard to believe that so many thought Towers was the "good guy" in the Phoenix / BMW / Alchemy affair....
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Doctor Nick
        [blocked]