PwC sells law firm Manches in pre-pack

PWC ADMINISTRATORS have managed to sell law firm Manches and its assets to former rivals Penningtons Solicitors in a pre-pack deal.

Zelf Hussain, David Baxendale and Stuart Maddison, partners at PwC were appointed joint adminitrators of Manches and Manches Services Limited.

A pre-pack is where a company is marketed and sale lined up prior to it entering administration. The whole or parts of a business is then sold immediately on appointment of the administrators.

Hussain, said: “Manches had been facing severe financial difficulties caused by trading losses and lack of liquidity. Following our appointment and with the Court’s blessing, we immediately completed an accelerated sales process (via a pre-pack) that had been running for some time.”

Manches, which had offices in London, Oxford and Reading, served high net-worth individuals and mid-market companies. It employed 265 employees, including 46 partners, and had a turnover of about £27m. All the staff are transferred.

Glen Babcock, law firms restructuring expert and partner at PwC added: “This latest news on Manches reflects the financial issues facing the legal sector. Our most recent law firms survey found that the appropriate funding levels for firms, together with effective financial management has risen to the top of the agenda for many legal managing partners and finance directors.

“PwC has also found that the average level of working capital in firms has increased, as has the reliance on external debt for certain parts of the legal sector.”  

In September 2009, Manches was in merger talks with Halliwells after both firms saw their revenues dip and partners exit. However, Halliwells entered into a pre-pack administration in July 2010 with BDO administrators appointed. 


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