Oddbins in talks to buy up remaining Unwins stores
Saturday 07 January 2006
Threshers, the UK's largest off-licence group, snapped up some 200 of Unwins' 350 stores shortly before Christmas, pledging to save the jobs of as many as 1,200 of Unwins' 1,800 staff.
A deal with Oddbins - which is owned by the French group, Castel - for the bulk of the remaining stores could provide hope for many of the remaining 600 staff.
Unwins' administrators, KPMG, are keen to sell off as many of the remaining stores as possible in one deal. However, it is believed they are still considering offers from a number of bidders who want to buy smaller packages of stores.
Phillip Cook, chairman of DM Private Equity, which bought Unwins for £32m nine months ago and played an integral role in the company last year, is known to be among the bidders for some or all of the remaining stores.
Mr Cook came under criticism from employees at the time of the Unwins collapse due to his decision to go on holiday to Dubai just days later.
Unwins was placed in administration just a week before Christmas, after its banker, HBOS, pulled the plug on its lending facilities. On the same day, DM said that it had discovered a £13.5m hole in the company's accounts, adding that it planned to launch legal action against Unwins' former directors, auditors and shareholders.
Former directors and shareholders believe the claims are unfounded, saying DM was made aware of the state of the business when they bought it, and was warned that the company would need a cash injection and a restructuring.
DM said that after completing the deal and getting a closer look at the books, it discovered that Unwins' net assets were worth £10.8m less than they had been led to believe, while accounting errors had produced a further £2.4m of unexpected costs.
The former board, however, is believed to contend that after the purchase, DM revalued Unwins as though it was no longer a going concern, which created the discrepancy in the two sides' numbers.
David Massey, a director of DM who was one of the key players in the Unwins bid, quit the board four months ago, just six months after joining. He was believed to be unhappy with the way the venture was moving.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...
£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...
£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...