Speechly Bircham wins MFI administration mandate

Troubled furniture chain MFI has gone into administration, despite a last-ditch rescue attempt by its management, with Speechly Bircham getting the call from administrators MCR.

Speechly Bircham private equity partner Andrew Clarke has been advising the MFI management throughout the crisis.

Last month the company’s private equity owners, Merchant Equity Partner sold the business back to the management for a nominal sum of £1 in a bid to stave off administration.

Salans global restructuring chief Bryan Green and corporate head Richard Thomas led the team representing MEP, which bought MFI in 2006, also for £1.

Ashurst also represented MEP on behalf of major stakeholder Goldman Sachs with private equity partner Stephen Lloyd acting on the deal, and SJ Berwin partner Mike Woollard was drafted in on behalf of subsidiaries MFI Retail and MFI properties

It had been hoped that MFI chief executive Gary Favell could save the company, which employs more than 3,000 people, before it collapsed into administration last night.

The administrators were hoping to sell the business as a going concern but 26 stores are to be closed immediately.

The company issued a statement blaming “severe cashflow pressure as a result of credit insurance being withdrawn across the sector and the general market deterioration, which has led to the failure of certain key suppliers”.