Head of Restructuring and Insolvency | Corporate | Risk
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The Bloodhound Land Speed Record is an ambitious UK engineering project, that’s using an attempt to break the world land speed record to inspire the next generation to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But when the project ran out of funding in 2018, its ambition was stalled.
Working alongside administrators from FRP Advisory, Foot Anstey became a driving force behind a project-saving acquisition.
Since kick-off in 2008, Bloodhound Supersonic Car has been making headlines across the world. The car’s high-profile sponsors include the likes of Rolls Royce, Rolex, the government of South Africa and the UK Ministry of Defence. But following a lack of funding, Bloodhound was forced into administration in December 2018. At the time, if an investor could be found this administration would be rare – resulting in all liabilities being settled and the company saved.
Leading the project was Joanne Rumley, Tim Pritchard, Lydia Lloyd and wider resource from our Restructuring and Insolvency Team. The team worked collaboratively with Andrew Sheridan, Matt Whitchurch and the wider team from FRP Advisory, the Bloodhound project’s board of directors, Gordon Brothers and specialist PR advisers, to devise a creative strategy that could unlock project-saving opportunities.
To manage day to day challenges quickly, we assembled a multi-disciplinary rapid response team firstly with advisory capability to guide the board through directors’ duties and responsibilities and then to support key contract renegotiations with Rolls-Royce, the Ministry of Defence and the South African government, where the car is planned to race. This fast-moving team was also able to negotiate the terms of intellectual property licences, the position of the landlord and rights under the lease, the interaction and legal obligations with a separate education charity and the overall communications plan. At the same time, our team had to find ways to work around the project’s sensitivities of information and technology used.
We successfully deployed a variety of strategies which resulted in the business and assets being bought by Ian Warhurst, a Yorkshire-based entrepreneur. We also succeeded in looking after the interests of the creditors involved, given that the project was insolvent.