Former Unwins chief to sue auditors

Phillip Cook, chairman of stricken retailer Unwins, is planning to sue former
auditors Grant Thornton, as well as his company’s shareholders and directors,
for £40m following alleged accounting errors.

Cook bought Unwins last March from the Wetz family through DM Private Equity,
and is now alleging it was insolvent when he paid £2m for it, Reuters

Grant Thornton, Unwins’ auditor before the DM Private Equity purchase, said
it could not comment on a claim it had not yet seen.

The stricken off-licence group went into administration in December, and
appointed KPMG’s Blair Nimmo, Myles Halley and Jane Moriarty as joint

Prior to the appointment, the company had already shed 400 staff and had
closed 255 of its 350 stores.

KPMG closed the remaining stores and made 1,400 employees redundant, leaving
only 20 staff to help the administrators in the short-term.

The Big Four firm did manage to save some of these jobs, however, with the
sale of 200 Unwins stores to beer and wine retailer Threshers for an undisclosed

Unwins was hit by increased competition from supermarkets and tight margins.

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