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Jones Day to examine role of BHS directors with new administrators

Jones Day is advising on the administration of BHS, joining Weil, Gotshal & Manges and DLA Piper in winding down the collapsed retailer.

The firm will advise administrators FRP Advisory, which was appointed in July, to investigate the conduct of past BHS directors and examining their role in the transactions during the sale of the retailer.

Questions were raised during the BHS inquiry about the sale of certain BHS assets, such as the £35m sale of North West House, one of BHS’s offices on Marylebone Road.

FRP Advisory will act alongside Duff & Phelps, which was appointed as administrators in April this year. DLA Piper is advising Duff & Phelps, while Weil is acting for BHS, with Weil London head of restructuring Adam Plainer advising alongside restructuring partner Mark Lawford.

The scope of Jones Day’s work will include examining the role of BHS’s directors, many of whom came under scrutiny and were questioned before the parliamentary BHS inquiry chaired by Labour MP Frank Field.

BHS was sold by Arcadia Group, chaired by Sir Phillip Green, for £1 to Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions last year. The collapse of the retailer in April is expected to lead to 11,000 job loses, with Duff & Phelps announcing the imminent closure of BHS’s final stores on 20 August.

The BHS inquiry saw MPs criticise the role of the company’s directors, its legal advisers and its former owner Green.

On the release of the report into the retailer’s collapse, work and pensions committee chair Field said: ‘One person, and one person alone is really responsible for the BHS disaster. While Green signposted blame to every known player, the final responsibility for up to 11,000 job losses and a gigantic pension fund hole is his.’

During the sale of BHS Linklaters advised Green’s Arcadia Group, while Olswang corporate partner David Roberts advised Retail Acquisitions.

The legal advisers on the sale were labelled by the authors of the report as ‘an expensive badge of legitimacy’.

Jones Day declined to comment.