The Sale of the Century (for those of tender years) was a popular ITV show that ran from from 1971 to 1983, hosted by Nicholas Parson

Sale of the century begins: Walmart looks to off-load Asda; David Lloyd gym could be sold; Riley Sports Bar looks for a buyer as Covid 19 prompts sell-offs, plus Antalis has a new owner

With so many businesses finding the going tough as they emerge from the economic shut down this year it is no surprise there are casualties. It could be described as the sale of the century with so many firms looking for a buyer – with apologies to the iconic TV show of the same name. ICSM credit has reported on firms in trouble and one of those signs are of once solid companies looking for a a new owner. Walmart in the USA is one of those finding historic debt a problem according to CNN this week.

Asda up for sale as Walmart creeks

With some of America’s biggest names in trouble due to historic debt the Fed has stepped in to in effect buy that debt to save Coca-Cola, Berkshire Hathaway, Marriott, Philip Morris and Walmart from economic collapse.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said he would like to see the UK Government acting in a similar way to help some the country’s struggling firms. He said: “It takes the immediate pressure of a company as servicing debt is one of the key factors in a company failing.”

As a result of Walmart’s problems in the USA the company has put Asda up for sale in the hope of bringing in much needed cash. In the past Apollo Global Management, Lone Star Funds and TDR Capital were reported to have made offers for the supermarket chain.

Gym owner in a sweat

The Daily Telegraph are reporting that the owners of the David Lloyd gym chain are looking to sell the business. It comes amid speculation that the gym business has been particularly badly hit by the Covid 19 crisis with members unable to access their local gyms due to the shut down.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said: “The shut down is one aspect of how it affected the gym business but also with three months of being at home some members would have questioned why they are gym members.”

He said anecdotally there were cases of people cancelling their membership and taking up low cost exercise routines like cycling and walking instead. Because many gyms are experiencing financial problems he said creditors need to be careful over granting credit.

Cruise liner sinks into administration

ICSM Credit reported on Cruise & Maritime Voyages attempts to seek new funding in order to stay afloat following the crippling of their business by Covid-19. Those attempts have failed so the firm ceased trading and has appointed Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines from Duff & Phelps as joint administrators. Based in Essex the cruise liners operated out of Tilbury and had six ships with two new ones ordered for next year. Those plans have sunk along with 4,000 jobs and a long list of unpaid invoices to creditors.

Bar up for sale

With 21 bars in the UK Rileys Sports Bars would normally have been a pretty safe bet in the world of hospitality but Covid 19 has put pay to that. The firm fell into administration this month closing four of their bars  in Grays, Wolverhampton, Worcester and Sheffield for good while FRP Advisory have been charged with finding a buyer for the rest of the business.

With more than 200 staff facing the axe FPR have a job on their hands to keep the remaining bars open although they say there has been interest from several potential buyers.

Pulp and paper money works

Rumours have swirled around the paper and stationery industry for months in the UK with a number of big names going bust as the print market contracted especially after the demise of Spicers and Office Team. Eyes have been fixed on Antalis for some time due to their French owner Sequana’s difficulties that ended in liquidation last year. The UK’s largest paper supplier Antalis has now they have been bought by KPP.

Print Week’s Jo Francis reported: “Kokusai Pulp & Paper has officially taken control of Antalis after it completed the purchase of the shares held by majority shareholder Sequana, marking a “new page” for the merchanting group. Yesterday (21 July) KPP completed the previously announced purchase of Sequana’s 75.2% stake for €0.10 (9p) a share, and the BPIFrance stake for €0.40 a share. KPP has become the majority shareholder in the group as a result. The Japanese group will file a so-called ‘mandatory squeeze out’ cash tender offer for the remaining shares held by private investors, at €0.73 a share. The takeover deal involves the refinancing of an existing €100m facility through a new deal with Mizuho Bank, with the rest of the amount owed to Antalis’ former lenders written off.”

Ian Carrotte welcomed the news as Antalis has been a leading figure in the print and paper industry cutting high profiles at trade shows. “It’s a relief to hear the news in these difficult times for the industry,” he said, “and hopefully it will bring stability as Antalis have a wide range of suppliers who have had their concerns in recent months.”

Construction firm comes to an end

Based in Dorset Colmar Construction had up to 200 employees according the firm’s LinkedIn profile. It said: “Colmar is an established construction specialist with experienced staff able to work to any remit. We blend old-fashioned skills and craftsmanship with superior building materials and technology. With our focus clearly on the needs of our valued customers, always promoting and adhering to the principles of providing great buildings to specification, on time and on-budget.”

The Insolvency Service have reported the have appointed Laurence George Russell and Mark Elijah Thomas Bowen, of Albert Goodman LLP and MB Insolvency as administrators.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website or send an email to

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit