05 Jan 2021

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised Teesside-based award-winning independent retailer Psyche on its sale to retail giant Frasers Group, owned by renowned entrepreneur Mike Ashley.

Founded in 1982 by Steve Cochrane, who will remain with the company following the sale, Psyche will continue to market its products online and from its store in Middlesbrough, with all jobs safeguarded.

The WBD team advising on the transaction was led by Newcastle-based partner Jeremy Smith and managing associate Stacey Hall.

Jeremy Smith of WBD commented:

"Helping our clients to support the North East economy is an important strategic goal for WBD. We're thrilled to have acted for Steve Cochrane and the whole Psyche team on its sale which will safeguard jobs in the region and support the growth ambitions of a much loved local brand."

"Our focus on the retail and consumer sector, coupled with our strong track record advising on corporate transactions of all sizes, meant we were able to complete the deal just before Christmas and within a week of our firm being instructed."

Steve Cochrane, owner of Psyche commented:

"After 38 years as an independent fashion retailer and, amidst a pandemic that has widely impacted the sector, it is great to have the security and backing of one of the strongest UK retailers to continue employing our talented staff and serve our loyal customers. We are really grateful for the expertise and commitment of the WBD team, who pulled out all the stops to enable us to complete the deal on very tight timescales."

The sale of Psyche is the latest in a series of deals completed by WBD's retail sector team during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, including, to name just a few, advising Vertu Motors on its £18.7 million acquisition of BMW, MINI and Motorrad dealerships; acting for Nestware, a sister company of Carpetright, on its acquisition of Keswick Flooring Ltd; and Mercia's investment in tea business Noveltea.

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD provides legal expertise in its key sectors, from across eight offices in the UK and 19 offices in the US. The firm has a large corporate practice in the UK advising national and international clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, particularly M&A, IPOs, private equity investments as well as growth and development capital fundraisings.

WBD's Retail & Consumer sector team advises many of the world's best-known consumer brands and retailers across a full range of national and international legal issues. Clients in the UK include Kingfisher Group, Colgate-Palmolive, Whitbread (Costa Coffee), Post Office, Specsavers and New Look. In the US, clients include Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc., Reynolds American, Inc., and Hanesbrands Inc..