Jones Day, Freshfields in XL Leisure bankruptcy

Jones Day and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have bagged the top legal roles in the bankruptcy proceedings of XL Leisure Group, the UK’s third largest package holiday operator.

XL, the latest victim of the economic slump, went into administration today after a dramatic hearing late last night at the offices of Jones Day.

Freshfields finance partner Neil Falconer is advising the group’s main creditors, including Icelandic bank Straumur, while restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Tett is representing the administrators, Kroll.

At the bankruptcy hearing, presided over by High Court judge Mr Justice Henderson, the firm called on 3-4 South Square QC Robin Dicker.

Kroll is also using Jones Day partners Adam Plainer and Sion Richards to help break up and sell off the French and German subsidiaries of XL, assisted by of counsel Paul Bromfield.

The US firm had previously been instructed by XL and BDO Stoy Hayward, which had been attempting to save the group with a restructuring programme.

Plainer said: “We tried like hell to save this business but the economy is against this type of company at the moment.”

Jones Day also turned to 3-4 South Square and Simon Mortimore QC to represent them at the insolvency hearing.

Freshfields is also advising, through a Chinese Wall, on the acquisition of XL’s French and German businesses by a special investment vehicle.

The collapse of XL left thousands of air passengers stranded abroad when its air fleet was grounded today. It is the latest in a glut of airline bankruptcies, the latest being low cost carrier Zoom at the end of August.

Barclays, which had a small stake in XL, was advised by Clifford Chance.