Pre-packs

House of Fraser Pre-Pack – Is It Such a Great Deal?

The acquisition of House of Fraser by Sports Direct is a typical “pre-pack” administration. In administration one minute, sold the next. The national media promptly welcomed it as the rescue of everyone’s favourite department store, the protection of 17,000 jobs and just what is needed to help save Britain’s High Streets. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct trumpeted this as a great deal. All the stores and stock were purchased for £90 million when gross assets were £946 million and the company made ...

Letter in the FT on Pre-Packs

The Financial Times published a letter from me on Pre-Pack administrations and their abuses today - see: https://www.ft.com/content/f9d55388-2109-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c . More will be in the latest ShareSoc Informer Newsletter which is about to be published. Roger Lawson

AIM Campaign Comments

RBS and Pre-Packs

The FT carried a story on Saturday (11/6/2016) which was a blast from the past. It reported that Neil Mitchell, a former CEO of Torex Retail, had filed a claim in the high court against Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Cerberus and KPMG in relation to the sale of the company at the time it went into Administration. This case goes back to 2007 when Torex Retail got into financial difficulties after some fraudulent accounting came to light (which resulted in subsequent ...

ScS Group listing – a pre-pack phoenix relists

Upholstery and flooring retailer ScS Group Plc (SCS) joined the main market of the LSE on the 28th January.  At the placing price of 175p the market cap was £70m.  Now you may recall that this company used to be listed a few years ago, but went into administration in July 2008. It's useful to look back at what happened then and at some aspects of the current business in case you are considering an investment in the company. In 2008 the ...

RBS, Hibu and the unacceptable face of banking

There have been extensive media comments lately on the activities of the Royal Bank of Scotland in lending to smaller businesses, and what they did when those businesses got into financial difficulties. The articles printed focussed on two reports on the activities of RBS - a report commissioned by the bank by Sir Andrew Large, and one by Lawrence Tomlinson* who acts as a consultant to the BIS Department. Both reports, but particularly the latter one, were quite damning about the ...

RSM Tenon Pre-Pack: an odd connection

ShareSoc has made many representations in the past about the abusive use of pre-pack administrations. In the case of publicly listed companies, they usually mean the ordinary shares become instantly worthless. The latest case of a pre-pack in a listed company is that of RSM Tenon. This company (an accountancy practice oddly enough) got into difficulty by taking on excessive debt for a growth strategy. Baker Tilly were negotiating to buy the business for a rock bottom price. But yesterday it ...