2,600 jobs at risk as Bargain Booze heads for administration

Sky News has learnt that Conviviality, which stunned investors earlier this month when it revealed a £30m tax bill, is expected to announce later on Wednesday that it has been unable to secure sufficient new funds.

The development is likely to lead to PricewaterhouseCoopers being appointed as administrator on Thursday, according to insiders.

It comes just days after Conviviality confirmed the departure of Diana Hunter, its chief executive, and said it would seek to raise £125m from investors through a placing of new shares.

A number of suppliers are understood to have deserted the company, which supplies drinks to thousands of pubs, undermining Investec’s efforts to raise the new funding.

Conviviality’s shares were suspended after the tax bill was disclosed to the stock market, leaving it with a market value of just £185m.

The company, which also owns the Wine Rack chain and the drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark, is a big player in the UK’s beverages industry.

It supplies more than 700 off licences and 23,000 pubs and restaurants across the country, and employs more than 2,600 people.

The brewing giant AB InBev has urged shareholders to back the fundraising, underlining Conviviality’s importance as a distribution channel for its products.

Administration will mean the company becomes the latest retail sector failure following the collapse of Toys R Us UK and Maplin.

Conviviality declined to comment.


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