Linklaters joins Brown Rudnick and Cleary on Republic administration

Linklaters has been instructed by administrators at Ernst & Young (E&Y) in the latest in a string of insolvencies to hit the British high street this year.

Chris Howard
Chris Howard

The magic circle firm is acting for the administrators of Republic after the Leeds-headquartered clothing chain filed for administration this morning (13 February). E&Y partners Hunter Kelly, John Sumpton and Alan Hudson were appointed as joint administrators.

Linklaters partner Richard Bussell is advising the administrators, while Chris Howard has taken the role for the company’s banks. DLA Piper Leeds partners Richard Obank and Colin Ashford are also acting for E&Y.

The company has 121 shops across the UK, employing 2,500 people. It is continuing to trade while the administrators seek a buyer.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partners Simon Jay and David Billington are acting for TPG, the private equity house which bought Republic in 2010.

US firm Brown Rudnick’s European bankruptcy and restructuring head Louise Verrill is acting for the company’s management board.

In a statement Kelly said: “Republic suffered poor trading results in the Autumn, and whilst sales picked up in December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January. The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head office in Leeds redundant.”

Republic’s administration follows the collapse of retailers HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops earlier this year, on the back of a number of retail insolvencies in 2012.

Background to this deal:

Linklaters has taken a lead role on several other insolvencies in recent months. Partners Richard Hodgson and Bussell secured the instruction from administrators Deloitte when HMV collapsed in January (15 January 2013) with Howard acting for the banks, in the same arrangement as the Republic case.

The firm was also instructed on the administrations of Petroplus (26 January 2012) and the Game Group last year (30 March 2012).

A team from Cleary led by Jay advised longstanding client TPG when it acquired Republic in June 2010.