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.