Ashurst advises Morrisons on agreement to acquire McColls out of insolvency

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    The transaction is being structured as a pre-pack administration following the decision of McColl's board on Friday 6 May to initiate the group's administration. Pursuant to the agreement Morrisons has reached with McColl's administrators, Morrisons will acquire all of McColl's 1,160 local convenience stores which include 270 stores already branded as Morrisons Daily pursuant to existing partnering agreements. All of McColl's employees will be transferred with the McColl's business and Morrisons will also take on both of McColl's defined benefit pension schemes. McColl's secured lenders and preferential creditors will be paid in full with a distribution also expected to unsecured creditors.

    The Ashurst team advising Morrisons is being led by relationship partner Tom Mercer and restructuring and special situations partner Olga Galazoula, along with global head of restructuring and special situations Giles Boothman and counsel Inga West. They are being assisted by associates Adi Jain, Jake Hadfield, Rachel Tan and Sara Hamzawi and trainee solicitor Myung Cho.

    The significant Ashurst team advising Morrisons is also drawing on specialist advice from competition and antitrust partner Nigel Parr, assisted by associates Emile Abdul-Wahab and Olivia Spong; head of contentious restructuring and insolvency and London Office co-managing partner, Lynn Dunne; employment partner Ruth Buchanan; global loans partner Tim Rennie; counsel John Gordon; real estate partner Sarah Sivyour and tax partners Nicholas Gardner and Paul Miller.

    This marks the second major transaction on which Ashurst has advised Morrisons in the last 12 months, following our advice to Morrisons on its £7.3bn takeover by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice which completed in October 2021 following a competitive takeover process involving an earlier offer from a consortium of investors including Fortress Investments.