Zolfo Cooper CEO pivotal to Yellow Pages restructuring

DELOITTE ADMINISTRATORS were called in to Yellow Pages publisher hibu, which is currently undergoing a major restructuring to manage its £2.3bn debt, as part of a restructuring plan supported by Zolfo Cooper’s chief.

The ailing publisher initially recruited CEO of restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, Simon Freakley, to work as chief restructuring officer concurrently with his Zolfo Cooper role, in December 2012. He supported and help fine-tune a restructuring plan for the business which is now being implemented. He stepped down from the role in October.

The restructuring plan entails transferring the trading subsidiaries and debt to a new group holding company of all the subsidiaries, which will be owned by the lenders. The existing holding company would enter administration, with Deloitte administrators now appointed.

Neville Kahn, Phil Bowers and Ian Wormleighton, all from Deloitte, were appointed joint administrators of hibu on 27 November.

As part of the deal, no payment will be made to the shareholders of hibu. A statement from the company said this is because there is no value in the shares.

However, the restructuring remains subject to approval from the UK Pensions Regulator, and the company’s lenders.

The directories business rebranded from Yell in 2012 and has 12,000 employees but has been struggling with its debts which are due in July next year. The company had revenues of £1.3bn and 1m SME customers for the year ended 31 March 2013.

However, for the six months ended 30 September 2013 the group’s revenues decreased 12% to £584m with EBITDA down £45m to £107m.  

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