Hamilton Locke Advises Administrators on Sale of Colette by Colette Hayman

Hamilton Locke acted for Vaughan Strawbridge, Sam Marsden and Jason Tracy of Deloitte in their capacity as voluntary administrators of the Colette by Colette Hayman group of companies on the sale and recapitalisation of the bag, jewellery and accessories retailer. 

The successful sale of Colette by Colette Hayman was effectuated via a deed of company arrangement to an investor team headed by former Myer head Bernie Brookes and former Dick Smith and Woolworths executive John Skellern. It is a significant achievement given current market uncertainty and marks a new beginning for the Australian based retailer, by securing a future for the streamlined business and jobs for close to 300 employees. 

Hamilton Locke’s ground-breaking court application in April 2020 to switch off the personal liability of the administrators was critical to ensuring the administrators could mothball the business in line with the rest of the economy and there was sufficient time to facilitate a successful tender process and restructure of the business amidst the turbulence created by COVID-19. 

Commenting on the transaction, Nicholas Edwards said: “This is great result for creditors, employees, customers and the business. The decision to mothball and preserve the business during the height of the social distancing restrictions provided the administrators with time to achieve a sale which has resulted in a better return to creditors compared to a liquidation and ensured the ongoing employment for many individuals. The successful sale again highlights the ability of the voluntary administration regime to achieve a successful restructure or recapitalisation of a business” .

Commenting on working with Nick and the team, Sam Marsden said “It has been a turbulent journey through the heart of Covid-19 and we are proud of the outcome achieved, securing the future of the business and jobs for a large number of employees. The support and advice provided by Hamilton Locke has been excellent, helping us navigate through the unprecedented challenges as well as setting new legal precedents along the way. A true team effort.

The Hamilton Locke team for the transaction was led by partner Nicholas Edwards and assisted by senior associate Monty Loughlin and graduate Alex McCullagh