Clinton Cards has been rescued out of administration by Lakeshore Lending, a subsidiary of Clinton Card’s largest creditor American Greetings.
The sale comprises the brands and assets of Clinton Cards, including 397 stores. The transaction has preserved 4,500 jobs across the UK.
Zolfo Cooper was appointed administrator when Clinton Cards collapsed last month after the retailer’s largest supplier American Greetings bought its £35m debt and immediately asked for repayment, which it could not afford.
Referring to the sale, American Greetings chief executive Zev Weiss said: “We are pleased to welcome these stores, the Clinton Cards brand, and the approximately 4,500 employees as members of the American Greetings family.
“As mentioned before, we believe that properly managed, and with the appropriate capital structure, Clinton Cards can be both an important and profitable retailer in the specialty channel of distribution over the long term.
“The separation of the acquired assets and business from the legal entity in administration is an important first step of this process. We have also lined-up a leadership team to run the new UK subsidiary that has extensive specialty retail channel experience.”
Zolfo Cooper joint administrator Peter Saville said: “We have always been of the view that despite an intensely competitive retail environment and what proved to be excessively ambitious expansion plans in recent years, there was a strong underlying business contained within Clinton Cards.
“The significant number of credible expressions of interest we received for the business we have sold today, from both trade and financial buyers alike, is testament to this fact.
“We would like to thank the staff for their dedication and patience throughout what has been an understandably difficult time for all concerned and we wish both them and the new owners of the business every success for the future.”
Zolfo Cooper will now focus on continuing the store closure programme, after announcing a 350-store closure programme last month out of a 750-strong store estate across both the Clintons and Birthdays fascias.
Clinton Cards supplier American Greetings had been the front-runner to buy the business and, as the largest creditor, had some influence over the administration process. WHSmith, Card Factory, investment firms OpCapita and Endless were also in the running to buy the retailer.
Any bid would have had to top £35m for American Greetings to step aside because that would ensure the US firm clawed its money back. But it is understood that Clinton Cards was widely valued by potential buyers at between £10m and £20m, so an offer of that scale was unlikely to materialise.
- Click here to view the list of Clinton Cards stores acquired by Lakeshore Lending Ltd
- Click here to view the list of Clinton Cards remaining under Zolfo Cooper