Comet sold for £2 and new owners get £50m sweetener
Loss-making electricals chain Comet has been sold to Hailey Holdings and Hailey Acquisitions a turnaround specialists group backed by private equity company OpCapita for just £2, in the latest sign of the dire state of UK consumer electronics spending.
The UK retailer's sales were down almost 20% for the first six months of its financial year.
As part of the deal, Comet's owners Kesa said it will invest £50m in the new holding company along with retaining liability for Comet's defined benefit pension scheme, which had a deficit of £39.3m in April. OpCapita's investors will put in £30m of cash.
OpCapita, is an investment firm which specialises in turnaround situations, said it had "no intention to make redundancies" or to implement a significant closure programme for Comet's 248 stores. It will however adopt the company's existing cost-cutting plans. It has committed to operate Comet for "at least 18 months" from completion of the deal, expected in February of next year.www.guardian.co.uk