Max Brenner Chain Saved At The Last Minute
Max Brenner's Australian business has been saved from liquidation, according to media reports.
The chocolate and cafe chain, which entered voluntary administration earlier this month, has been thrown a lifeline by investment office Tozer & Co, Fairfax Media reports.
A deal was struck on Wednesday night with the firm, run by brothers David and Craig Tozer, to acquire the licence for the 37-store business.
"In conjunction with the franchisor, we are excited by the prospect of investing, growing and developing a highly successful business," David Tozer told Fairfax Media.
"The brand has a rich history across the world and also within Australia."
Max Brenner collapsed into liquidation on Wednesday, with the owners of the franchise terminating the Australian licensing agreement and appointing BDO as liquidators.
It came just before an adjourned court hearing to wind up the company which had run the Australian operation, MB Australia Pty Ltd.
“This morning, prior to the adjourned hearing commencing, the licensor terminated the licence agreement on the grounds of default, the default being the appointment of administrators to MB Australia,” the team of administrators from McGrathNicol said in a statement.
McGrathNicol partners were appointed earlier this month by the owners of the Australian business, who cited escalating costs and tighter retail trade as reasons for its demise.
Signals the company was under financial stress began to circulate in August 2017 when the Australian Financial Review reported the former head of the Packer family's Consolidated Press Holdings, Glenn Wein, was putting together a package to "rescue" the business which owed about $50 million at the time.
Around the same time, staff were learning of superannuation payments which had gone unpaid, an email obtained by ten daily has revealed.
The appointment of liquidators ended the sales process for the 17 stores still in operation in Australia.
It's understood the deal with Tozer & Co will stabilise the remaining stores that will remain open as usual as a transaction is finalised over the coming months.
More to come.