Bingham, Mayer Brown and Macfarlanes lead on Comet administration

Bingham McCutchen and Mayer Brown are advising the administrators of electricals chain Comet, which filed for administration last Friday (2 November).

Deloitte partners Neville Kahn, Nicholas Edwards and Christopher Farrington are trying to find a buyer for the goods retailer after retail turnaround specialist OpCapita, which bought the business for just £2 last year, failed to revive the high-street chain.

Mayer Brown London restructuring head Ashley Katz is the lead partner for the firm on the case, while City financial restructuring partner Liz Osborne is leading a team at Bingham. Both firms are advising the Deloitte trio on the administration.

Meanwhile, Macfarlanes confirmed that it had been advising Comet “in recent weeks in relation to its financial difficulty”.

Kahn said in a statement: “Comet has been battling the changing landscape of the electrical retail sector for many years. It has become increasingly difficult for it to compete with online retailers which don’t face the same overheads such as store rents and business rates.”

Background to this deal:

Macfarlanes partners Stephen Drewitt and Ian Martin advised OpCapita last year when Kesa, which is listed in London and Paris, offloaded its UK Comet stores to Hailey, a group of companies advised by retail turnaround specialist OpCapita, for just £2 (9 November 2009). The instruction came through the firm’s established relationship with OpCapital principal Joshua Spoerri, who Macfarlanes advised in a previous role in Bank of America’s European private equity business. SJ Berwin advised the Comet management.

The mandates come amid a string of UK administration cases in recent months, with Wragge & Co taking a role advising the administrators of London taxi maker Manganese Bronze (5 November 2012).