The good name of Sir Richard Branson has been tarnished following the collapse of Australian company Mooter Media Ltd.

On February 4, 2013 Mooter Media Ltd announced an administrator had been appointed to the company after calling a trading halt on the Australian Stock Exchange on January 31.

On July 2, 2012, Mooter Media Ltd announced to shareholders that, “Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of Companies and an iconic global entrepreneur, philanthropist and social influencer, has been confirmed as a category judge and ambassador for Shutterbug Millionaire”.

Sir Richard issued the following statement when his involvement with Mooter was announced. “It is a pleasure to team up with Russell James, a brilliant photographer, and the other judges. I encourage everyone to capture cherished moments and powerful perspectives and share them through this opportunity”.

The announcement went on to say, “Sir Richard’s involvement in Shutterbug Millionaire is in conjunction with Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of Virgin Group, which will be heavily featured within SBM’s extensive social cause platform. Virgin Unite was founded to connect people and entrepreneurial ideas to make change happen – to revolutionize the way government, business and the social sector work together. This aim is closely aligned with Mooter and Hot Shot Media’s belief in the social power of business and the intrinsic alignment of community, commerce and causes”.

Mooter then further aligned with Sir Richard with this quote from CEO Chris Jermyn. “It is inspiring to have someone of Sir Richard’s calibre and universal recognition join us in becoming actively involved and supporting Shutterbug Millionaire and its judging process. Virgin Unite is a very worthy cause, and its goal to inspire humanity though creativity and ingenuity is one that we at Hot Shot Media deeply share”.

Branson was not paid a fee for his involvement with the company or the concept but his name was meant to generate investor interest and Shutterbug Millionaire was meant to be a saviour of the company. It is believed that he also did not contribute financially to the company.

The announcement did have an upward swing in the Mooter shareprice (ASX: MMZ) but nowhere near its $52 high of 2000. Following the crash of 2001 Mooter shares fell into the $3 range rebounding to the $6 range when the market improved. In 2004 it fell below $1 and in 2007 below 20c. It the past 12 months the company has traded below 1c, with a high of 9/10’s of a cent. It slipped to 1/10th of a cent, the lowest price an Australian stock can reach, in early October.

According to the Australian Stock Exchange the current directors of Mooter Media Ltd (MMZ) are:

Mr Nicholas Stavropoulos (Chairman)
Mr Evan Balafas (Non Exec. Director)
Mr Trent Blacket (Non Exec. Director)
Mr John F Diddams (CFO)

Diddam is also listed as Company Secretary.

The principal activities of the company are described as “Developer and provider of internet advertising targeting solutions”.

Former Chairman Peter Jermyn ceased to be a director of the company of November 14, 2012.

Mooter Media Ltd was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on June 22, 2000 at the height of the dotcom boom.

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