Unveiling the Troubling Tactics of Hilco’s Vulture Fund: Exploiting High Street Hardships

Vulture fund Hilco under fire for preying on High Street misery






















Cashing in: Paul McGowan

Cashing in: Paul McGowan

Wilko’s administrators have defended the controversial role of Hilco, the vulture fund that swooped on the stricken discount retailer shortly before its collapse.

Hilco Capital loaned £40 million to Wilko and also acts as the liquidator of its stock, which has led to accusations of conflicts of interest.

Specializing in retail, Hilco has been on hand to help administrators with some of the UK’s most high-profile company failures, including at Woolworths, BHS, and Debenhams.

It also owns DIY chain Homebase and the Denby pottery business after acquiring them when they encountered trading problems.

The business model has proven highly lucrative for the firm’s founder, Paul McGowan.

Hilco paid out dividends totaling £13.5 million in the past two years, with the majority going to McGowan as the largest shareholder.

Wilko took the £40 million loan in January, giving Hilco a seat at the top table of creditors and ensuring the restructuring firm can recover all its funds unlike other large creditors.

Hilco is also set to receive substantial fees for advising administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers on valuing and selling off Wilko’s assets.

The GMB union, representing some of the 12,500 workers facing redundancy, has expressed concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

‘It’s clearly not right if a company owed money is also advising the administrators,’ said national officer Nadine Houghton. ‘In fact, it stinks.’

Hilco has a long history of profiting from struggling businesses on the High Street.

The firm was established by McGowan and former Harrods boss Paul Taylor in 2000 as the London branch of the US restructuring firm with the same name.

Homebase repaid a £132 million loan to a parent company ultimately owned by Hilco after receiving millions in state aid through furl

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