Royal Bank of Scotland brings Dentons in on Alldays insolvency

Denton Wilde Sapte has further strengthened its relationship with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) after winning an instruction to advise the bank in connection with Alldays, which went into receivership last Monday (28 October). The bank is one of several key clients Dentons is targeting in order to boost partnership profits.

For decades, legacy firm Wilde Sapte was NatWest's favoured firm, bringing in more than £10m in annual billings. But since the merger with RBS that work has fallen off dramatically. However, Dentons head of banking Graham Paine has a robust relationship with RBS, which undoubtedly helped the firm to win the new instruction.

RBS appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers partner David Hargrave as receiver because it was not prepared to extend its 12-month loan to next March. The receiver sold the business of Alldays, which includes 637 stores, to the Co-operative Group (Co-op) for approximately £131m.

The sale to Co-op was completed immediately after the receiver was appointed, which is fairly unusual in a receivership involving listed companies. The proceeds of the sale were not sufficient for Alldays to pay back all its borrowings, so it is believed that the outstanding sum of around £60m will be written off.

The team at Dentons was headed by corporate recovery partner Howard Morris. Jeremy Cohen and Judith Harger advised on the corporate and tax matters respectively.

Morris said: “We were delighted to work with RBS on what was a high pressure transaction, which called for a high level of experience and technical expertise. The bank's approach to problems is rigorous and imaginative.”

Alldays was advised by Aleen Gulvanessian, a partner in Eversheds' London office. The Co-op was advised by Hammonds, with which the company has a longstanding relationship. The team at Hammonds was led by corporate partner William Down, with Susan Kelly and Jonathan Edwards assisting on the insolvency and banking aspects of the deal.