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Jones Day handed Allders work thanks to referral from Olswang" />Jones Day has scooped its first instruction from Allders, the department store chain that was recently forced into administration. Insolvency partner Adam Plainer won the mandate to advise Allders thanks to a referral from Olswang chief executive Jonathan Goldstein, who has a longstanding relationship with the company’s majority shareholder Minerva.
“Olswang was advising both the shareholders and the Allders companies, and it became clear that the parties needed separate advice. Jones Day got the work because I recommended Adam Plainer to Minerva,” explained Goldstein.
Minerva has been a key corporate and property client for Olswang ever since the firm was launched in 1990. It advised Minerva when the property company bought its 60 per cent stake in Allders’ holding company Scarlett Retail.
Allders, which has £135m of debt, appointed partners Andrew Pepper, Alistair Beveridge and Fraser Gray from corporate investigation firm Kroll as administrators on 26 January. The move followed unsuccessful attempts to secure refinancing or alternative bids for the department stores.
The administrators, who are being advised by DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary insolvency partner Simon Neilson-Clark, are now trying to sell off the chain either as a going concern or in separate parcels. Although Neilson-Clark declined to comment on the sale of Allders, it has been reported that one high street retailer is already carrying out due diligence on buying the entire chain. According to reports, potential purchasers include Alchemy Partners and Debenhams.
DLA, which has effectively taken over Jones Day’s responsibilities, was instructed by the administrators because the firm had advised Kroll on the Ciro Citterio administration in 2003.
Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers, which holds a 20 per cent stake in Allders, is being advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ken Baird. Lehman also held around £100m of Allders’ debt, but has sold it to Epsilon for £26m.
Epsilon, a West Indies-incorporated vehicle and Allders’ only secured lender, has appointed US restructuring specialist Hilco to advise Kroll on managing the stores. Epsilon is being advised by Allen & Overy.
Meanwhile, Barclays, which is understood to be owed £50m by Allders, is being advised by Addleshaw Goddard.