Court backs administrators on sale decision

The court granted administrators an order entitling them to sell assets covered by security, which the secured creditor was refusing to release, due to the fact that the administrators had not accepted the highest bid because of AML concerns.

Administrators applied for permission to sell a company's assets as if they were not subject to the respondent's second ranking fixed charge. The company’s director had been granted first ranking security.

The administrators received four offers. The highest offer was for £6.5 million from a party connected to the respondent. The second highest offer was just over half that figure from the director (D) and was slightly higher than two other third party offers.

The joint administrators decided that they could not proceed with the highest offer due to AML concerns and accepted D’s offer. The respondent refused to release its security, so the administrators applied for permission to sell the secured assets.

The court considered the market value of the company’s business and assets and concluded that they were demonstrated by the three similar offers.

The court also found that the administrators had been entitled to form the view that it was ultimately not safe to proceed with the highest offer, and was unable to conclude that the administrators had acted irrationally or gone beyond their powers in making that decision.

The court therefore granted the relief sought and also found, due to the time pressures on concluding the deal, there was no further time for an adjournment and, if the deal did not imminently complete, there was a real risk that the company could go into liquidation; so, there was no sensible alternative other than to granting the relief sought.

In regards to Lyphe Group Limited [2023] 12 WLUK 427.

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