Urchin’s future in doubt

On 23rd January, insolvency practitioner Harris Lipman was
appointed liquidator of Urchin, a cataloguer of children’s toys
and baby products. Prior to the liquidators’ appointment, Urchin
was owned by Sweden-based Value Tree, a children’s products
manufacturer. In a statement issued on 21st January, Value Tree
confirmed the sale of its UK subsidiary Milestone Corp, of which
Urchin is a trading name, to an unnamed party.

In the statement Value Tree said that the new owner would continue to sell Urchin’s products in the UK. But in early February the liquidator told Catalogue e-business that no decision had yet been finalised as to whether to trade Urchin as a going concern or to break up the business, selling off the assets piece by piece. As of 2nd March, Urchin’s website was displaying a notice informing customers that the business had “ceased trading temporarily”.

Urchin’s founder (and Catalogue e-business contributor) Murray Kenneth, who had sold Urchin in 2006, and a consortium of private investors, which specialises in assisting potentially insolvent businesses with turnover of less than £3 million, had made an offer for the company. They failed to agree on contractual terms with the liquidator, however. At press time Milestone and Value Tree chief executive Elaine Barnes could not be reached for comment.

Published: 2nd March 2009


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