Woolworths Group plc, the asset stuffed parent company that put its retail business into administration in November, has announced that the High Court has granted an application that will lead to the whole group being controlled by administrators Deloitte.
The news comes just six days before creditors of the retail division, Woolworths plc, are due meet with administrators to discuss the company’s colossal Net Liabilities. A source close to the administration has revealed to a shareholder in the group (who has asked not to be named) that Woolworths plc has an estimated deficiency regards creditors of £793 million.
With the retail business bust beyond doubt questions still remain as to the value of Woolworths other substantial assets. The Group’s wholesale divisions including Entertainment UK the supplier of CD & DVD's (also in a separate administration) and Bertram Books. There is also the question as to the value of the unsold brands Woolworths "Ladybird", and "Worth it" as well as the so called "jewel in the crown" 2 entertainment; the 40% Woolworth’s owned publishing venture with BBC Worldwide which has been valued at anything up to £200 million.
Woolworth's long tormented shareholders who invested in the belief that the group had Net Assets of £235 million as reported in September 2008 will be waiting anxiously to learn whether the administrators can explain where their money has gone. In the meantime shareholders and creditors alike can only hope that the administrators at Deloitte can realise the value of whats left of Woolworths more effectively than the company's cursed board of directors.