Matthew Arnold wins StepStone job

Watford-based Matthew Arnold & Baldwin has scooped a high-profile instruction. The firm has been retained by BDO Stoy Hayward, liquidators of online recruitment agency StepStone.co.uk.
StepStone.co.uk hit the headlines late last year when parent company, Norway's StepStone ASA, announced that it would no longer provide financial support for its UK operation. StepStone.co.uk was subsequently put into liquidation with the immediate loss of 135 jobs.
Joint head of insolvency at Matthew Arnold Adrian Hyde said: “We've been instructed to dispose of the assets of the business to various buyers and deal with property, employee and other issues.”
Hyde joined the Hertfordshire outfit last year from Denton Wilde Sapte. His arrival coincided with that of former Sinclair Roche & Temperley lawyer Alistair Bacon.
The mandate to handle the liquidation came directly to Hyde, who has a longstanding individual relationship with BDO Stoy Hayward, although the accountancy firm regularly instructs Matthew Arnold.
Hyde said that one notable aspect of the liquidation process had been the sale of StepStone.co.uk's assets. Because the UK subsidiary had hosted every website for each country in which StepStone was active, the parent company had to buy the assets in order to keep its online presence alive.
The UK proved to be StepStone's worst performing European territory. A highly competitive market meant that, despite investing large sums on advertising, StepStone.co.uk failed to make sufficient headway. The UK arm only generated £8m in 2000. StepStone will retrench, consolidating its efforts in three key locations – Belgium, Denmark and Germany.