DLA Piper kept busy as slump continues to hit UK businesses

<a class=DLA Piper kept busy as slump continues to hit UK businesses” />DLA Piper bagged roles on three high-profile administrations as businesses across the UK ­continued to succumb in the pre-Christmas period.

A team led by partners Michael Fiddy and Jona­than Leitch advised tea and coffee chain Whittard of Chelsea in the run-up to being placed into administration at the end of last year.

The company, which has since been bought by a ­consortium led by private equity house Epic, was placed into so-called pre-pack administration, which generally sees a buyer ­identified before an administrator is appointed.

Epic, which was chosen as preferred buyer by KPMG, ;which ;was ­appointed by Whittard’s ­former owner Baugur, was advised by Hammonds insolvency partners John Alderton and Tim Cooper, banking partner Richard Morton and corporate ­partner James McKay.

Administrators Angela Swarbrick and Alan ­Hudson at Ernst & Young, who were advised by SJ Berwin partner Mike ­Woollard, was called in after ­Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which backed Whittard, cut its funding to the company.

SJ Berwin also advised ­Landsbanki, with corporate partner David Parkes ­leading the advice.

DLA Piper has a longstanding relationship with Baugur and has been involved with Whittard since it was acquired by the investment house in 2005.

The ;firm ;was ;also involved in the pre-pack administration of pub chain Orchid, advising administrator Pricewaterhouse­Coopers, which took control of the company in December. Leitch worked alongside restructuring partner Simon Neilson-Clark and associate Lucy Skidmore on the ­transaction.

Under the terms of the deal Orchid was placed into administration then immediately bought back by its original owner, private ­equity house GI Partners. Trowers & Hamlins ­partner Jenny Gubbins advised GI.

As part of the restructuring, HBOS and Deutsche Bank took stakes in the business under advice from DLA Piper and Clifford Chance respectively.

DLA Piper was also involved in the administration of entertainment chain Zavvi, advising administrator Ernst & Young from its Manchester office.