Musgrave faces Superquinn hurdles

THE Musgrave Group is facing serious competition and obstacles in its €220 million-plus bid to take over rival retailer Superquinn.

Musgrave is in lead position to purchase the troubled retailer in a move which would make the company the country’s biggest retailer by market share. Musgrave CEO Chris Martin said the company plans to invest a further €20m in the Superquinn if its bid is successful.

However, separate court challenges could delay or frustrate the closing of the deal and even open up a route for a rival bidder to challenge for control of Superquinn. Two High Court actions are in train, one seeking to supersede the appointment of joint receivers Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG by placing the company in examinership with full protection from creditors for 100 days, the other challenges the appointment of the joint receivers.

The Superquinn shareholders seeking to have the company placed in examinership will have to be able to show the court that there are substantial resources available to see it through the process.

It is understood that they are working closely with a Lithuanian group, Agile. The Superquinn shareholders have until 5pm today to submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) outlining the case for examinership. An initial hearing on the application could take place as early as Tuesday.

Other interested parties who have run the rule over Superquinn in the recent past include Sainsbury’s where Irishman Dalton Phillips heads the British-owned company.

Musgrave have the backing of the union group who represent the bulk of Superquinn 2,800 workers.

Mandate Trade Union, SIPTU and the Bakers’ Union said: “Musgrave have the necessary retail expertise and capital not only to purchase Superquinn but to inject much-needed capital investment into the stores and in so doing they represent the best prospect for the long-term security of employment of the 2,800 Superquinn employees and their families at this most difficult time for them.”

It is understood that Mandate is considering its legal position and may seek to have its legal representatives heard in one of the pending court actions.

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