A&O shares in £18.5m fees from Courts collapse

Allen & Overy

(A&O) has made millions of pounds in fees out of bankrupt furniture retailer Courts, which still has a pension deficit of over £14m.

The magic circle firm declined to comment on the matter, but did not deny that it had shared £18.5m in advisory fees with investment bank NM Rothschild. It did not clarify the split of fees.

Meanwhile, ‘big four’ accountant and Courts’ administrator KPMG reportedly made £23m in fees from its accountancy and corporate finance arms.

An A&O source pointed out that the deal was a complex restructuring that took place over two to three years across several jurisdictions.

It is understood that the average charge-out rate for an A&O partner is approximately £550 an hour.

Milton Keynes-based Courts first went into administration in December 2004, when KPMG was first appointed as administrator. Courts was placed in liquidation late last year.

Clifford Chance advised the troubled retailer on the appointment of advisors, but A&O handled the bulk of work arising from the sale of the business.