Irish family’s deal to buy Poundworld from UK administrators collapses

Dublin-based Hendersons believed they had deal to buy 50 UK stores

Poundworld in Stockport, UK. The Henderson family deal to buy some of the stores has collapsed.

Poundworld in Stockport, UK. The Henderson family deal to buy some of the stores has collapsed.

 

A proposed deal for an Irish business family to buy discount retailer Poundworld out of administration in the United Kingdom has collapsed in acrimony.

Deloitte, administrators to the chain in the UK, said that the Dublin-based Henderson family had agreed a “deal in principle” earlier this month to buy a tranche of stores in an eleventh hour agreement before they were shuttered.

The Hendersons, who previously established an entirely separate chain in Ireland also called Poundworld in the 1980s, which was later sold, believed they had a deal to buy up to 50 UK stores from the administrators.

The deal has now collapsed, however, in a row over issues that include the closure of some of the stores that the Hendersons had apparently wanted to buy.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Henderson family said they were preparing “a letter of complaint to the Institute of Chartered Accountants” in relation to Deloitte’s handling of the negotiations.

Deloitte confirmed that the deal with the Hendersons, which the firm understood was for about 34 stores, is not going ahead. The firm declined to make any comment on the Hendersons’ statement complaining about Deloitte.

Soured

It is understood that once it became apparent to the Hendersons that there was a dispute with Deloitte over how many stores the family could buy, the family’s financial backers soured on the transaction.

The family proposed a new financial partner, but final agreement could not be reached with Deloitte and negotiations ended.

The proposed deal had been led by David Henderson, who approached Deloitte with backing from European investors. His father, Dubliner Ray Henderson, founded the unrelated Irish chain Poundworld in 1984, which now operates here under another name and different ownership.

David Henderson had promised to “make Poundworld great again” and suggested in an interview with The Irish Times that the family would move the chain away from selling most of its products for £1 and widen its range with some higher-priced products.

Separately, UK supermarket chain Iceland has agreed with administrators to take over the leases on about 19 of the shuttered stores from the chain, which had over 330 outlets before it entered insolvency.

The administrators are now seeking buyers for the Poundworld trading name, which was also to have been purchased by the Hendersons before the proposed deal ended.