Freshfields, Linklaters advise on Woolies administration

Freshfields, <a class=Linklaters advise on Woolies administration” />The administrators of Woolworths have called on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters to help wind up the stricken retail giant.

Freshfields restructuring partner Adam Gallagher has been instructed by Deloitte for the administration of Entertainment UK, Woolworths’ wholesale arm.

Linklaters is understood to be advising Deloitte on the administration of the company’s retail arm.

The leading lenders to Woolworths, Burdale and GMAC, are also being advised by Linklaters through partners David Ereira and Richard Bussell.

Freshfields restructuring partner Ken Baird, corporate partner Mark Trapnell and banking partner Neil Falconer have been advising the debt-ridden retailer in rescue talks this week.

A deal between the BBC and Woolworths was thought to have provided enough cash to appease creditors, paving the way for the chain to be sold to restructuring specialist Hilco, which is understood to have been represented by CMS Cameron McKenna.

Hilco had previously offered £1 to take on 840 High Street stores as well as a portion of the group’s £385m debt.

On Tuesday night (25 November) BBC Worldwide agreed to pay more than £100m to buy Woolworth’s stake in a joint venture between the two companies called 2Entertain.

The BBC was represented by Olswang, which advised on the launch of 2Entertain in 2004. The deal is subject to approval from the BBC Trust.

The joint venture, which produces DVDs such as Blue Planet and Doctor Who, is 60 per cent owned by the BBC, with Woolworths holding the remaining 40 per cent.

Trading in Woolworths’ shares was suspended yesterday amid speculation that the company was about to go into administration.

It has been reported that the company’s biggest shareholder, property tycoon Ardeshir Naghshineh, would consider legal action against the Woolworths board if it was to collapse.

The fall of the retailer will put some 30,000 jobs at risk.