The former boss of supermarket Asda has led a rescue of an upmarket online butcher that counts the likes of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason among its customers.
Andy Clarke – who was chief executive of Asda from 2010 until 2016 – headed up a group of investors to buy Farmison & Co, which collapsed into administration earlier this month.
He teamed up with branding experts Chilli Marketing and its former founder and managing director, Gareth Whittle, for the deal.
Mr Whittle was a board member of Farmison before it went into administration.
The new owners plan to restart trading at the premium butcher in the coming weeks and resume production at its site in Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Former Asda boss will head Farmison
Mr Clarke, who will become executive chairman of Farmison, said: “As a retailer brought up on a farm in Yorkshire, I know how producers across the region appreciated Farmison’s commitment to the best producers who could provide the highest quality meat to customers.
“That’s why I’m very excited about Farmison’s prospects.
“We have an opportunity to scale this business and further develop both its direct-to-consumer and wholesale plans, building on the ethos and values of what Farmison stands for.
“Nevertheless, there is much work to do to get the business back on its feet and trading again – not least re-engaging with Farmison’s important network of farmers across the region and re-employing colleagues.”
He added that he will be focusing initially on returning the butchers to “bring financial stability to the business”.
Administrators FRP Advisory said the deal – for an undisclosed sum – came after a number of “serious offers” were tabled for Farmison.
Arvindar Jit Singh, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said there had been significant interest in purchasing the business and assets of Farmison .
“A number of serious offers had been put forward in recent weeks, but the proposal from the consortium provides the best opportunity of both re-establishing the business and maximising returns to creditors.”
Farmison was co-founded by John Pallagi and Lee Simmons in 2011, specialising in sustainable meat products from heritage and rare breeds.
It sells online directly to consumers across the UK, and to retailers such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, as well as Michelin star restaurants.
The group employed around 75 staff, most of whom were made redundant when FRP was appointed as Farmison went into administrator more than two weeks ago.
Before its collapse, it was owned by private equity firm Inverleith, which also has a stake in Planet Organic – the supermarket chain that is also racing to secure a rescue deal after filing notice of intent to appoint administrators at the end of last month.
By Holly Williams, Press Association