28 Oddbins stores saved after acquisition by unnamed buyer

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 | BUSINESS SALE

28 Oddbins stores will remain open after the off-licence retailer was bought out of administration by an unnamed buyer. Administrators Duff & Phelps announced the sale, saying the buyer had acquired a “substantial part of the business and assets” of Whittalls Wine Merchants and associated companies, which traded as Oddbins.

Joint administrators Philip Duffy and Matthew Ingram added that “the sale was achieved despite the current financial situation and secured the jobs people employed in 28 stores”. Shoosmiths LLP acted as legal advisers on the transaction, which saw 26 stores permanently close. No further details on the buyer or how many jobs will be saved have been given.

Oddbins entered administration in January 2019 citing Brexit uncertainty and tough trading conditions on the British high street. It was later revealed that it had also suffered as a result of HMRC revoking the excise approvals of European Food Brokers Limited, its parent company and chief supplier.

A rescue plan from the company’s former owners came out in June last year before a creditor report last September confirmed the terms of a sale of some stores to an anonymous buyer. In February, Duff & Phelps said that due diligence and final discussions on the sale were happening and it was expected to be completed by the end of May.

However, in early March Duff & Phelps informed the buyer that unless the deal was completed within a month Oddbins would be wound down. The COVID-19 pandemic then raised concerns that administrators would not be able to offload stores and the administrators said it was unlikely any further trading activity would occur at that time, but that stores may be sold once the pandemic died down.

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