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.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...