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Manchester firm Chaffe Street picked up work on the management buy-out (MBO) of Coats Viyella's contract clothing division through a referral from Eversheds, which acted for the company itself.
The transaction was subject to a number of twists and turns. It was initially determined that the deal would be a straight acquisition due to the fact that Chaffe Street's first client was an external company. However, the interested party pulled out, leaving the future of the division hanging in the balance. As Chaffe Street partner Robert Street had already put together the documentation for the initial sale of the division, it was kept on to advise Marplace, the newco put together by senior members of the clothing division Mike Hotton and Richard Tonge.
Chaffe Street had some significant manoeuvring to do, beginning work on the new deal on 1 December, which was subsequently signed on 4 December.
Coats Viyella's clothing division is a major supplier to Marks & Spencer (M&S), which is increasingly using overseas companies for its goods, putting the future of its original product sources in jeopardy. It is estimated that around 3,000 jobs were saved through the MBO of the clothing division. Only last month Peter Black, another M&S supplier, undertook an MBO to give it a fighting chance of survival. Eversheds also acted for the MBO team on this deal.