Linder Myers avoids administration with Assure Law rescue deal

Manchester-based Linder Myers has avoided administration through a debt restructuring deal including investment from Assure Law director Tony Stockdale, who has become chief executive.

As a result of the deal, the firm’s managing partner Bernard Seymour has instead taken on the role of senior partner.

It is thought to be the first time a deal of this sort has been attempted after a notice to appoint administrators has been filed.

Linder Myers filed its notice of intention to appoint administrators at the Manchester District Registry Court on 6 February (6 February 2014). The debt refinance has been agreed between the firm’s bank, RBS, Assure Law and its creditors.

Linder Myers was advised on the restructuring by Pinsent Masons led by partner Steve Cottee together with senior associates Dawn Allen and Sarah Flinn; Assure Law was advised by Graham Muth and Phoebe Matthews at Hill Hofstetter and EY and RBS were advised by insolvency partner Ged Barnes at Addleshaw Goddard.

Duff and Phelps acted for Linder Myers led by Sarah Bell and Paul Smith with the assistance of Steve Billot, while EY advised RBS led by restructuring partner Tom Jack and director Ben Wildsmith.

Referring to the firm’s 92-year history Linder Myers senior partner Bernard Seymour said: “The environment in which law firms find themselves operating has never been more challenging with unprecedented changes placing increasing pressure on firms.”

Stockdale commented: “The refinancing of the firm’s debts will result in a strong balance sheet and provides a stable base from which Linder Myers can focus on organic growth.”

Until mid-March Midlands-based HCB Solicitors had been in the frame to rescue the firm in a more traditional pre-pack buy out, having registered a company called HCB Linder Myers the day after the notice to appoint administrators was filed (11 February 2014).

HCB later pulled out of the deal, renamed the newly registered company HCB (the Midlands) and said it would be used for another purpose (11 March 2014).