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A group of former Halliwells partners facing a £21m claim from the failed firm’s administrators has agreed to mediate the dispute.
Dermot Power, a partner at BDO handling the administration, confirmed that the partners had agreed to mediation. Power said this would probably happen in the New Year.
In June Power and fellow administrator Shay Bannon wrote to 32 former Halliwells equity partners, asking them to repay the money they received from a reverse premium deal with the failed firm’s Manchester landlord.
The 32 equity partners divided £20.4m between them, following a deal struck between the firm and Manchester office landlord Allied London. BDO is seeking repayment of the premium, plus interest and costs (17 June 2011).
As reported by The Lawyer (20 June 2011), the letter also invited mediation between the parties.
The deal with Allied London followed Halliwells’ acceptance of a 25-year-lease in a building in Manchester’s Spinningfields development in 2005. The lease agreement included a portion of the building’s freehold, which was sold to Allied London.
As well as the £20.4m shared out between the 32 equity partners, who included then-managing partner Ian Austin and senior partner Alec Craig, a further £4.1m was re-invested in the business.