Customers of integrator and reseller 2e2 have told Computing that they are "considering their options", but what are their options, and what are the legal implications if 2e2 was to go under or be bought out; can a customer walk away from their contract or do they have to see it out?
"It all depends on what the clause says, but routinely it would say that in an administration event like this, the customer has the option to terminate the contract," Alan Owens, partner at law firm Morrison & Foerster told Computing.
But far from being clear cut, the option to terminate will rest on how important 2e2's services are to the customer in question and whether 2e2 will be bought out or go under.
"I've heard that O2 said they can cope with this, whereas NHS trusts may lean much more heavily on 2e2 and not have a practical option on terminating the contract," Owens explained.
If 2e2 goes under
Yesterday, Computing revealed that NHS trusts were being treated as the "priority" by 2e2's administrators, FTI Consulting, but Owens suggests that if 2e2 does struggle to find a buyer and goes under, NHS trusts may have to look for another service provider.
"I suspect that plans for this are already in place. I suspect that there must have been some emergency meetings last week on the clear and present danger of 2e2 not coming out of administration," he said.
Owens went on to say that customers who have a lot of data kept by 2e2 would be keen for 2e2 to come out of administration very quickly to ensure that all of their data is secure and in hand.
If 2e2 is bought out
"The new 2e2, whoever it is bought by or if it is split into chunks, may not be an attractive proposition to the customers," said Owens.
But the money already invested in contracts - about £37m for Sussex Partnership NHS Trust for example - could mean that NHS trusts would be forced to stick with which ever company took over the integrator.
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