Napoleon Perdis creditors have approved a $1.6 million proposal to save the business which will see its 28 stores remain open and more than 250 staff keep their jobs.
The cosmetics retailer, which fell into administration in January, will be purchased by KUBA investments, run by cross-border retail investor Livia Wang and her business partner Henry Lee.
Wang will undertake a restructuring of the business which will seek to stabilise Australian operations before looking at international opportunities for the business, including in China.
The eponymous chain’s founder Napoleon Perdis was not in attendance at the second meeting of creditors last night but will sign over his shares and remain involved in the business as a creative consultant.
Creditors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deed of company arrangement proposal, which was supported by administrators Worrels as a preferable option to liquidation.
Unsecured creditors, including suppliers and landlords, are owed as much as $26.68 million and are expected to get a return between four and 13 cents on the dollar under the KUBA deal.
Major suppliers Priceline and Terry White pharmacies supported the deed of company arrangement proposal.
Wang tells SmartCompany she plans to try the brand out in multiple overseas markets and will start testing the waters after Christmas 2019.
“The immediate next step for us is to secure the local persons and to continue in the local business, because it’s still a very strong brand,” she says.
“Before we made the offer we reviewed the global opportunity and they’re very strong in a number of markets.
“China will be one of them, but not the only one.”
Wang says she’s confident her leadership of the business will see it avoid the circumstances which led to its initial collapse.
“Shopping behaviours have changed. We can’t use traditional retail experience and expect double-digit growth,” she says.
Wang flagged negotiations with landlords in the coming months but has committed to keeping all of the company’s remaining stores open for the foreseeable future.
“We’d like to arrange things in a smarter way,” she says.
“We need to keep the good things though, which is the creativity from Napoleon, a tremendous individual.”
Worrell’s Simon Cathro said he was confident the KUBA deal would deliver a sustainable future for the business.
“The restructured company now sets a solid foundation for a profitable and sustainable business going forward,” he said in a statement on Monday evening.
“We are confident that Napoleon and Soula-Marie Perdis’ continued creative expertise will ensure the brand continues to thrive and grow under the new ownership