White & Case and L&W advise on the sale of Conforama France to Molibux

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White & Case acted as legal advisor to the bond holders of the main French furniture retailer Confo… White & Case acted as legal advisor to the bond holders of the main French furniture retailer Conforama during the sale of Conforama France and related real estate assets to the parent company of the French furniture retailer BUT, Mobilux.The sale was structured through a series of related transactions, including a 100% sale of the capital of Conforama France to Mobilux, as well as certain brands and domain names, and the acquisition by Molibux of 18 properties, for around EUR 70 million.

The White & Case team also advised Conforama bondholders on the immediate availability of a state guaranteed loan of € 100 million and a bridge loan of € 50 million. euros, made available by Mobilux, a joint venture formed between the American investment fund Clayton Dubilier & Rice and WM Holding.

In parallel with the finalization of the transaction, which should take place in September 2020, a second guaranteed loan in the amount of 200 million euros will also be granted to Conforama France. Latham & Watkins advised the group of lenders providing the loans, employing a team led by Parisian financial partner Xavier Farde, alongside lawyer Carla-Sophie Imperadeiro.

After the Covid-19 pandemic hit countries around the world, Conforama France saw its business operations deteriorate, which led Conforama bondholders to support the Conforama France-BUT commercial merger proposal. It follows Steinhoff’s 2019 annual report, released on June 30 of this year, which stated that Coforama France’s position was “uncertain” and that it was considering short-term options, including a possible business divestiture.

The sale of the company, which has now been agreed, will increase Conforama’s chances of survival, especially since after the takeover, Molibux will implement a plan to take over the business. “The sale will secure the future of Conforama France, release the group from its commitments to this activity and generate cash to reduce the current debt held by Conforama France,” said Steinhoff in a press release dated 8 July.

Due to the European dimension of the turnover of the two companies, the proposed acquisition was initially to be referred to the European Commission, but a request from the companies to have the transaction examined by the Competition Authority has been granted.

The transaction, once finalized, will create a new European market leader in the furniture segment.

White & Case employed a Paris-based team to advise Conforama, led by its partner Saam Golshani, which received support from partners Denise Diallo, Alexandre Ippolito, Alexandre Jaurett and Bertrand Liard, advice from Jean Paszkudzki and various partners.

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