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‘Substantial part’ of Oddbins sold

A “substantial part” of wine retailer Oddbins has been sold by administrators.

Joint administrators Duff & Phelps said on Tuesday (2 June) they had sold a large portion of business and assets of Whittalls Wine Merchants, and associated companies which traded as Oddbins.

A spokesperson for Duff & Phelps said the sale was achieved “despite the current financial situation and secured the jobs of people employed in 28 stores.”

Shoosmiths LLP were the legal advisers on the transaction, which saw 26 stores close permanently.

Oddbins went into administration in January 2019, blaming Brexit uncertainty and the deterioration of the high street, but it later became clear that its financial woes came in part from HRMC revoking the excise approvals of its parent company and chief supplier, European Food Brokers Limited.

A rescue plan from its former owners emerged in June 2019 and in September, an updated report for creditors published on Companies House confirmed terms of a sale of some the stores to an anonymous purchaser.

The administrators, Duff & Phelps, told db in February that due diligence and final discussions were underway and the proposed sales was “envisaged” to be completed by the end of last month, after incurring delays. However, in a statement filed on Companies House on 5 March, the administrators told the proposed buyer that should the deal not be completed “within the next month”, the company will be “wound down” (ie liquidated).

There were concerns that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown would prevent administrators from offloading any more stores for the time being.

Oddbins wrote to all staff at 5:30pm on Tuesday 24 March to inform them they would be furloughed and are eligible for the UK government’s emergency salary scheme.

Phillip Duffy of Duff & Phelps told db in March it was “unlikely in the circumstances that any further trading activity will be undertaken by the administrators but there may still be a number of stores that are acquired on the other side of this global pandemic.”

Correction: The article previously stated that Oddbins was sold to a mystery buyer. The stores were in fact sold to WRL. The article was updated immediately to reflect this.

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