DLA and Kirkland win roles on Dreams pre-pack sale to Sun Capital

DLA Piper and Kirkland & Ellis have taken the lead roles on the pre-pack administation and sale of bed retailer Dreams to private equity house Sun Capital Partners in the latest retail insolvency of the year.

Kon Asimacopoulos
Kon Asimacopoulos

DLA Piper restructuring partner Simon Neilson-Clark led a team acting for administrators at Ernst & Young, with Kirkland & Ellis partners Kon Asimacopoulos and Elaine Nolan representing Sun Capital.

E&Y partners Alan Hudson, Craig Lewis and Joe O’Connor were appointed as joint administrators of Dreams yesterday (5 March) and confirmed the sale of the majority of Dreams’ business and assets to a new company controlled by Sun Capital. The value of the sale has not been disclosed.

The business will continue to operate as a going concern outside of insolvency.

In a statement Hudson said: “High street retailers have faced unprecedented conditions over recent years, and the market for higher value discretionary purchases has been particularly tough. Dreams is a well known market leader, but in common with many others has suffered as a result of this depressed retail environment, a rapid expansion of its store portfolio and onerous lease liabilities. Whilst recent performance has improved, it has seen a decline in like for like sales across its store portfolio as well as its operating margins being squeezed. This has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of administration.”

The new company is taking control of 171 Dreams stores, its head office and two UK manufacturing facilities. Over 1,600 jobs will be transferred. The E&Y team is seeking buyers for a further 95 stores.

Background to this deal:

Kirkland has acted for Sun Capital for many years both in the US and in Europe since hiring a team from SJ Berwin in 2007 (14 May 2007). The firm’s London restructuring practice has also featured on a number of major administrations and restructurings recently, including European Directories (13 December 2012) and Travelodge’s debt transfer deal (17 August 2012).

DLA Piper’s restructuring instructions include most recently taking a role on the administration of the Republic clothing chain (13 February 2013), with E&Y partners instructing Leeds partners partners Richard Obank and Colin Ashford.