RBS to pocket £9m in Halliwells sell-off

The three firms vying to take over Halliwells are expected to pay a total of £9m for the business, as the firm’s bank RBS renewed its overdraft facility ahead of pay day.

Hill Dickinson is thought to be paying £1.5m for the Liverpool office, including Halliwells managing ­partner Jonathan Brown, and wants to impose a four-year lock-in.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, which is eyeing the firm’s insurance business, will pay in the region of £5m and is also expected to impose a lock-in arrangement.

The overall deal was slowed down after a £2m offer made by HBJ Gateley Wareing for the Manchester non-insurance business was thought to have been rejected by RBS. The firm, which is seeking to lock-in the equity partners it acquires for three years, is expected to increase its bid to £2.75m.

The combined total is short of the £12m that the bank was believed to have wanted. Any agreement is subject to partnership votes and no payment will be made upfront. Instead bids are calculated as a ­proportion of estimated work in progress and books of business.

RBS renewed Halliwells’ £2m overdraft facility last week in an eleventh hour deal that allowed the firm’s 813 members of staff to be paid on 9 July. The Lawyer also understands that Halliwells partners approved an increase in their respective financial contributions to the business.