AlixPartners named as proposed administrator to KWM

KWM london

AlixPartners has been named as proposed administrator to King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM’s) European arm, in documents filed in the High Court earlier today by the firm.

AlixPartners managing director Alastair Beveridge is listed as the proposed lead administrator.

CMS is advising KWM Europe on the process, which is expected to see KWM file for pre-pack administration in January.

KWM announced in a statement earlier today that it had filed an intention of notice to appoint administrators.

The firm confirmed the move in a statement, reading: “King & Wood Mallesons LLP can confirm that it has, today, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators with the court. The notice is designed to protect the firm from its creditors and allows it to maintain client service as it continues to explore all available options.”

“The firm’s management team and financial advisers continue to work to ensure the best possible outcome for clients and staff, and this move supports these efforts at a key point for the business. We have no further comment to make at this time but will issue further updates as appropriate.”

The legacy SJ Berwin business now has 10 working days until it must file for administration or file another intention to appoint an administrator. Ten working days would take it to 9 January for a likely filing.

Numerous partners and teams are being acquired by rival firms ahead of the filing, expected next month.

Yesterday (21 December), it was announced that former European senior partner Stephen Kon is to join Macfarlanes along with fellow competition partners Tom Usher, Cameron Firth and Christophe Humpe.

Issues for the legacy SJ Berwin business came to a head in late October when four high profile London partners resigned, including former managing partner Rob Day and UK funds head Michael Halford, who are joining Proskauer Rose and Goodwin Procter respectively.

The exits forced the firm to put a planned £14m recapitalisation on hold while it reassessed its financial situation, prompting a revised proposal that would have secured an additional bailout from the Asian arms of the business had European partners agreed to it.

In a vote of no confidence in the business, just 16% of European partners approved the plan in full, leaving management seeking an alternative including a merger. Discussions with firms including Dentons about a whole-firm takeover failed, prompting the current team-by-team exodus and pre-pack administration plans.