Smith & Williamson sells snack brand out of administration

24 February 2022 2 min. read

The Livia’s snack brand has been rescued from administration, via a sale to investment firm S-Ventures. Administrators from Smith & Williamson secured the future of what they called the “iconic business” after it fell into financial difficulties.

Founded in 2014 by social media influencer and entrepreneur Olivia Wollenberg, Livia’s supplies a range of vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free biscuits to supermarkets across the UK. The health food company’s clients include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado, Boots and Holland & Barrett.

With its primary method of sales coming through brick-and-mortar stores, the brand struggled throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The last two years of lockdowns had a negative effect on sales, as out-of-home snacking, impulse buys and meal deal purchases tumbled with fewer workers commuting even when measures relaxed.

Smith & Williamson sells snack brand out of administrations

Reported revenues at Livia’s for the year ended 30 September 2020 stood at £1.6 million, with pre-tax losses of £1.4 million. Unaudited accounts for the 12 months ended 31 January 2022 meanwhile showed sales of just £1.3 million – and this saw the company appoint Clare Lloyd and Finbarr O’Connell of Smith & Williamson as joint administrators of the business on 17 February 2022.

The experts worked quickly, and soon secured investment from S-Ventures to secure the future of the firm. Lloyd noted that the deal had saved the jobs of the business’ staff, while allowing Livia’s the opportunity to “flourish” with new backers.

Lloyd added, “We are certain that S-Ventures is the right fit for Livia’s business and we are continuing to work with the new owners to ensure a smooth transfer of operations.”

The news is unlikely to comfort Livia’s former backers, however. Its 2020 crowdfunding campaign on the Seedrs platform, Livia’s was valued at £11.3 million. This prompted almost 1,400 crowdfunding backers to invest a combined £1.9 million into the company in 2020 – and they will now fail to see a return on their investment.

Meanwhile, S-Ventures snapped up the company for just £355,000. The firm will pay a bonus of up to an additional £100,000 in cash and new S-Ventures shares, if Livia’s revenues exceed £600,000 in the 10 months following the acquisition. And according to the joint administrators, an improved performance of the firm is very much on the cards.

Smith & Williamson’s O’Connell added, “While it is always sad to see an iconic business like Livia’s get into financial difficulties, the team at Livia’s have got health, innovation and a social conscience baked into their DNA. I predict that this business is not going anywhere… except up.”