Discount retail chain Pricewise has been sold to its former major shareholder and Smiths City owner Polar Capital - owned by Colin Neal - for an undisclosed sum.

The business will be run by Pricewise CEO Craig Robertson.

The Herald understands that Robertson will become a director and shareholder of newly incorporated Price Wise (2020) at a later date.

Price Wise Limited, trading as Pricewise with 16 stores nationwide, and its major distributor, Zenith Distribution Limited, were placed into receivership on August 21.


Khov Jones director Steven Khov said receivers were appointed after a dispute with shareholders over how the business was being run by founder Andrew Berryman.

Price Wise Ltd and Zenith Distribution Ltd, which imports and wholesales beauty and personal care products, together turn over about $12 million a year.

They have been sold to Price Wise (2020) and the business formally changed hands yesterday afternoon.

Companies Office records list Karen Hind, Brett Tucker and Eric Woudberg (of Polar Capital) as directors. Polar Capital LP owns 100 per cent shares in company.

The business will be run by Craig Robertson who, before the receivership, was chief executive of Pricewise, Khov told the Herald.

Retail staff, 98 of 109 its workforce, were offered continued employment with the buyer as part of negotiations for the sale and staff will be paid their full entitlements, worth about $200,000, Khov said.

Unsecured creditors such as suppliers are not likely to receive anything from the sale.

More than 30 parties expressed interest in the business and several formal offers were received for various aspects of the business. The sale to Polar Capital was the only offer that included an offer of employment to retail staff, Khov said, which was part of the reason the offer to take over the business was accepted.


"Given the current climate with the impacts from Covid on employment, the offer of employment to the retail staff is a positive outcome given the situation," Khov said.

"We are proud to achieve a sale of the business in the limited timeframe in the current Covid environment."

Before the companies were placed into receivership, Colin Neal of Polar Capital held a majority stake in the business. Berryman and his wife Gill held a 31.2 per cent stake and Craig Robertson a 17 per cent stake.