Wm Morrison paid the equivalent of £ 182 million to take over McColl’s, overtaking a competing offer from EG Group, promising more cash to unsecured creditors and using its position as a major supplier to the chain stores.
According to regulations prepared by PwC administrators, the share price of the failed company was about 3 million pounds at the time of the suspension of its shares on May 6, but the senior creditor had a debt of 160 million pounds.
In a detailed account of the last months of the network, PwC said that McColl’s has four reliable contenders, but by the time the shares in the group were suspended, their number had dropped to three.
Negotiations the following weekend were attended only Morrisons and EG Groupa network of gas stations owned by TDR Capital and billionaire brother Isa, who also own a rival group of Asda supermarkets.
Financial bidders, such as hedge funds, were effectively barred from the process due to Morrison’s reluctance to restructure its creditors ’claims when a third party acquired ownership of McColl’s.
“Any buyer should be able to put all the real estate in the store, perhaps in a short period of time,” – said in a PwC document. “All the parties who are really capable of doing this have already been addressed.”
Both EG and Morrisons presented proposals that included maintaining the entire property of nearly 1,200 stores and 16,000 employees, rescuing McCall’s defined benefit pension plans, administrative costs and full repayment of secured bank lenders and preferential lenders such as HMRC.
EG offered “substantially” more cash than Morrisons, but the latter’s offer to make no claims on its own unsecured debt of around £ 130 million meant that distributions to other unsecured creditors were “estimated to be 50 per cent higher” than in accordance with the law. Offer EG.
Morrison declined to comment on the contents of the documents.