Salans, Freshfields win seats on Habitat sale

Salans banking and restructuring partner Alison Gaines and corporate partner Jonathan Polin – both London-based – led on the sale of furniture chain Habitat to Retail Investments Limited, a retail investment group led by Hilco, whose previous acquisitions include Allied Carpets. The deal involved UK, Dutch, French, German and Spanish facets.

Van Doorne advised Hilco alongside Salans on the legal issues in Holland. Freshfields London corporate partner Claire Wills advised Habitat’s former owners, ICAF.

According to Retail Week, the deal involved ICAF writing off debts and providing working capital of euro50m.

“We had to do the complete the deal within two weeks,” said Polin, “because of the speed of it and the complexity of the group, and the fact that there were stores all across Europe, we had to deal with the case commercially and sensibly.”

Hico is expected to implement a turnaround plan for Habitat, which employs more than 1,500 staff, soon.