Sir John Ritblat resigns from Colliers International UK after pre-pack sale to FirstService

Sir John Ritblat has resigned as a director of Colliers International UK following its sale via a pre-pack administration to Canadian group FirstService Corporation earlier this week. The business was finally acquired for US$22m (£13.8m) on 28 March, following two extensions to the acquisition deadline, after FirstService initially made its bid approach in late January. Colin Wagman has also resigned as a director to the company.

FirstService has acquired all the trading operations of Colliers International UK on a going concern basis, “securing full continuation of the Colliers International UK group’s business for its clients and staff”. Tony Horrell remains as CEO. The credit facility provided to the company by Barclays will be paid off as part of the transaction. The deal realised no value for holders of ordinary shares in the company.

Property Week today reports that the sale could affect the pensions of employees who are members of Colliers’ defined benefit pension scheme, which was closed in 2011 and which has a liability of about £5m. Their pensions are now covered by the government’s Pension Protection Fund. Property Week understands that there are around 300 members in this scheme, 50 of whom are current Colliers employees. The company’s newer, defined contribution scheme, is not affected by the pre-pack deal. The Pension Protection Fund’s annual compensation is capped at just below £30,000.