All the signs of a big uplift in insolvency and restructuring business are there as we in the NTI newsroom analyse the portents and report on some of the more interesting cases being taken by our clients. For example, the buds on Wendy's acer tree have turned from green to brown; the number of emails announcing curious Somalian government lottery wins have increased; and the cut of Kier Starmer's jib looked a little perkier yesterday as he tried to remember the names of most of his shadow cabinet. ("I want to say ... 'Rachel'? ...")
For example, Mark Thornton (one of NTI's all-time favourite past students) and Martha Thompson of BDO were appointed joint Administrators of Cartwright King, a national law firm at the end of December. Being the fine IPs they are, they immediately completed a pre-pack sale to AWH Acquisition Corp and announced that Cartwright King would continue in business under the same name - and, just like that, everything returned to pre-Covid normal.
Last September Allister Manson, Trevor Binyon and Joanne Rolls of Opus were appointed as the joint Administrators of Petropavlovsk plc, a group who almost certainly don't suspiciously run gold mining operations in the far eastern reaches of Russia, but it just sounds exciting and eyebrow-raising, doesn't it? Anyway, in the very first week of 2023 our Opus pals received permission from the High Court to place Petropavlovsk 2010 Limited and Petropavlovsk 2016 Limited, two of the company's Jersey-based subsidiaries, into Administration. They have been ably assisted by MacIntyre Hudson, Leonard Curtis, DLA Piper and Field Fisher, as there are all sorts of concerns about sanctions. In fact, with Kroll and Shoosmiths also mentioned in despatches, it's hard to spot anyone in our glorious profession who has not had a foot in this one.
Shaws the Draper, who have operated in Wales and the west of England in an old-fahioned way, with a cotton reel and tired acrylic vibe, have given up the ghost after 110 years of trading. Gareth Stones of Stones & Co has been working with the directors and has set up a general meeting of members on 10 January. 150 staff have already been notified they will have the most miserable of starts to 2023.
FRP look to continue their insolvency and restructuring chart-topping form of busy-ness following on from 2022, with John Lowe and Yasmin Bhikha setting up the pre-pack sale of the mysteriously named Cinderella Cleaning Contractors (who list, amongst their expertise, 'rope access') to declared connected party Elev8 Access Platform Limited, as well as being appointed as Liquidator of In-Time Watch Services. If you have a piece of jewellery or a watch that needs picking up from In-Time Watch Services FRP are your contact point.
If you were a printing manufacturer and retailer of wall maps, jigsaws and puzzles in the UK during Covid, when everyone was climbing the walls pretending to work from home, desperate for any distraction and even considering adopting a guinea pig, you would think business would have been brisk to great. Well, despite an increase in jigsaw sales in the past two years, Ben Wiles and Andrew Knowles of Kroll were appointed joint Administrators of Map Marketing Limited and put the pieces together by securing a pre-pack sale of the company's assets to All Jigsaw Puzzles Ltd, a company incorporated by Map Marketing's shareholders. All 52 staff were retained and they are planning a celebratory jigsaw of the universe (with all stars). We made that last bit up, but it sounds like a good one, doesn't it?
Finally, the Evening Standard report that Administrators from PwC are warning more than 30,000 Made.com shoppers that they will lose £12 million in deposits, as there will likely be no funds leftover for unsecured creditors after payments to the company's secured creditor, Silicon Valley Bank, are made.
As we said; busy ...