Salans, Linklaters advise on Habitat administration and UK brand sale

Salans and Linklaters have taken lead roles on the administration of furniture retailer Habitat and the sale of the UK brand to Home Retail Group (HRG).

The retailer’s UK arm fell into administration last week (24 June), with Zolfo Cooper appointed to oversee the process. Habitat has approximately 33 stores in the UK and employs about 870 staff.

The administrators have turned to Salans for insolvency advice, with the firm fielding a team of lawyers led by London finance partner Sonia Jordan.

HRG, which also owns Argos and Homebase, has purchased Habitat’s UK brand, intellectual property and three central London stores for an estimated £24.5m from private equity owners Hilco.

Magic circle firm Linklaters has taken the lead role for the acquirer, fielding a team led by relationship partner Iain Fenn. Approximately 130 Habitat staff will transfer across to HRG as part of the deal.

Hilco has owned Habitat since 2009 when it purchase the business for just €3 (£2.70) from Ikano – a group of companies owned by Ikea founders the Kamprad family – in exchange for taking on €100m (£89m) of debt.

HRG said that it expects Habitat to make small losses for this financial year due to set-up costs, but that it expects it to return to profit in future. Habitat products will now be sold through HRG’s Homebase stores, with sales via Argos also under consideration.

Salans last year bolstered its City restructuring team with the hire of former Halliwells corporate recovery head David Grant in May.