Gambling on title

A thorny issue in administrations, and liquidations for that matter, is the question of retention of title. Office holders are wary of the risks of interfering with the property of third parties for which they might be personally liable. A recent case provides some well-received comfort for office holders.

The case centred on a number of issues, in particular the use and ownership of more than 500 fruit machines by an operator who specialised in the gaming industry. That operator (and other group companies) went into administration. Another company appeared to hold the benefit of title to the gaming machines supplied to the operator, based on a clause that provided that ‘legal ownership of goods herein is retained by [the supplier] until full and final settlement is made’.

In this case, the administrators traded the businesses (at a loss) and subsequently agreed a sale of certain of its business and assets. The sale documentation included the usual terms about title and excluded retention of title (ROT) assets from the sale…

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