Cambridge Analytica's decision to shutter its operations has prompted speculation that the controversial firm may re-emerge as a mysterious new company called Emerdata.
The data mining company announced Wednesday that it plans to file for bankruptcy in Britain and the U.S., saying negative publicity surrounding allegations that it improperly harvested data from millions of Facebook users drove potential clients away.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, is also shutting down.
At this stage, it is not clear what will happen to Cambridge Analytica’s intellectual property, although some of the firm’s leadership have already been linked with a new company.
Earlier this year, Business Insider reported that a number of figures associated with Cambridge Analytica had set up a company, known as Emerdata. Companies House, the register of U.K. companies, lists Julian Wheatland, the chairman of SCL Group, as an Emerdata director. Wheatland was slated to be the next full-time CEO of Cambridge Analytica and led the conference call with employees to discuss Wednesday’s news.
Cambridge Analytica’s Chief Data Officer and former acting CEO Alexander Tayler is also listed as an Emerdata director.
Cambridge Analytica backer Rebekah Mercer and her sister Jennifer Mercer are also listed as directors of Emerdata. Rebekah and her father, billionaire Robert Mercer, donated to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Presently, very little is known about what Emerdata will do. The firm’s business is described as “data processing, hosting and related activities” in the Companies House filing.
Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO Alexander Nix was also a director of Emerdata, although Companies House records show that he resigned from the latter role on March 28, 2018, eight days after he was suspended by Cambridge Analytica.
Reports emerged earlier this year that Cambridge Analytica improperly used information from as many as 87 million accounts on the social network, prompting Facebook to suspend the U.K.-based company. Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, denies any wrongdoing.
In its statement released Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica reiterated its “unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully,” but said that a “siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers.”
Cambridge Analytica has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers