Eversheds Sutherland takes PwC role on Maplin administration as Kirkland leads on Toys R Us wind-down

Eversheds Sutherland has won a key role on the administration of electronics retailer Maplin, as Kirkland & Ellis reprises its role for Toys R Us on the wind-down of its business.

Eversheds is advising PwC, which was appointed as administrator of Maplin just after 10am this morning. Manchester restructuring partner David Gray is leading the firm’s team.

PwC partners Zelf Hussain, Toby Underwood and Ian Green have been appointed joint administrators.

Eversheds previously advised Maplin – which has 217 stores across the UK and Ireland and employs more than 2,500 people – on its £85m sale to Rutland Partners in 2014.

Gray told Legal Week: “The administrator’s plan is to continue to operate the business and achieve the best possible outcome for all stakeholders.”

PwC’s Hussain added: “Our initial focus as administrators will be to engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the company. We will continue to trade the business as normal while a buyer is sought. Staff have been paid their February wages and will continue to be paid for future work while the company is in administration.”

Separately, US firm Kirkland is advising on the administration of Toys R Us, the UK’s biggest toy retailer, after helping the company to push through a company voluntary agreement (CVA) in December to save it from a pre-Christmas collapse.

Kirkland is advising Moorfields Advisory Limited, which was appointed as administrator this morning, with a team including City restructuring partners Kon Asimacopoulos and Elaine Nolan.

Moorfields partners Simon Thomas and Arron Kendall have been appointed as joint administrators of the company, which employs more than 3,000 people.

In a statement, Thomas said: “We will be conducting an orderly wind-down of the store portfolio over the coming weeks. All stores remain open until further notice and stock will be subject to clearance and special promotions. We’re encouraging customers to redeem their gift cards and vouchers as soon as possible.

“We will make every effort to secure a buyer for all or part of the business. The newer, smaller, more interactive stores in the portfolio have been outperforming the older warehouse-style stores that were opened in the 1980s and 1990s.”

In December, Kirkland advised the UK toy retailer on a deal that saw the company’s pension deficit recovery plan reduced from 15 years to 10 years, with £3.8m injected into the pension scheme in 2018 and a further £6m promised during 2019 and 2020.

Kirkland also acted for Toys R US on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of its US business last year.