DEAL: Punch Taverns restructure

Author: Danielle Myles | Published: 9 Dec 2014

Three years of acrimonious negotiations needed to restructure Punch Taverns could have been shortened if the UK made use of some French insolvency concepts, deal counsel have said.

The iconic British pub operator's restructure, considered Europe's most complex since Eurotunnel in 2007, finalised last month.

The out-of-court deal followed three rejected proposals and ended a stalemate between senior creditors, Punch's board and its shareholders – many of which were also junior noteholders.

Once agreed, it took under six months to complete the agreed debt-for-equity swap, which reduced Punch's debt levels from £2.2 billion ($3.45 billion) to £1.6 billion. But the saga preceding that agreement suggests a need to pause and reflect on how England's insolvency framework can be improved.

"We like to think that the UK restructuring process is one of the best in the world," said John Houghton, partner at Latham...