18 May 2010

ALB Deal of the Year Award a team effort

Sydney, 18 May 2010: Clayton Utz' Restructuring and Insolvency group re-affirmed its market-leading position last Thursday 13 May when it took out the Insolvency and Restructuring Deal of the Year award at the 2010 ALB Australasian Law Awards.

The award was in recognition of the team's work on the ABC Learning Centres receivership and, specifically, the innovative and ground-breaking rationalisation, restructuring and sale of the 262 unprofitable ABC Centres effected by means of a novel Court appointment of receivers to ABC2 Group Pty Limited – the first significant Court receivership since Bond Brewing.

The transaction involved expedited negotiations conducted with landlords of the 262 centres, prospective purchasers, licensing authorities, the ABC receivers, a multiplicity of Commonwealth departments (including the Deputy Prime Minister's office), parents and others, as well as regular Court reporting. The Supreme Court accurately described the scale of the operation as "quite massive".

Within approximately 6 months, 236 centres had been transferred to new licensed operators (including not-for-profit organisations), maintaining childcare places for some 13,000 children enrolled in ABC2 childcare centres and continuity of employment for approximately 89 per cent of ABC2 employees.

The Clayton Utz team, led by partner David Cowling and special counsel Orla McCoy, drew on expertise from across the firm including the Sydney and Melbourne Corporate teams led by partner Matt Anderson and senior associate Joelle Grace, the Sydney and Melbourne Property teams led by partner Peter McMahon and senior associate Claire Shelvey, as well as many other practice groups throughout Clayton Utz.

The ABC Learning Centres restructuring was also a finalist for the "Australasian Deal of the Year" award.

Stephen Parbery, senior partner of PPB which worked alongside Clayton Utz on the transaction, commended David and Orla and the Clayton Utz team on their ALB award win. "ABC2 has been a great success. It was a credit to [David, Orla and the Clayton Utz team] to be acknowledged on the night."

Also congratulating the Clayton Utz team on the award, fellow Court-appointed receiver Daniel Bryant said: "I think the award was just recognition for the many months of hard work."

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.