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Comet Said to Appoint Deloitte Administrators, Shuts Website

Comet, a U.K. electronics chain, will appoint Deloitte LLP as insolvency administrator, less than a year after being bought by private-equity firm OpCapita LLP, two people familiar with the matter said.

Legal paperwork was presented to the high court today, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential. The court may take until Nov. 6 to approve the move to put the business, one of the main competitors to U.K. market leader Dixons Retail Plc, into administration, according to the person.

Comet’s website was closed this afternoon, though all existing orders are expected to be fulfilled, the person said. Stores will remain open and staff will be retained until the business is formally in the hands of administrators, they said.

OpCapita took over the unprofitable 240-store chain from Kesa Electricals Plc, since renamed Darty Plc, in February after receiving a 50 million-pound ($81 million) cash dowry. Darty retained the pension program and received a nominal sum of 2 pounds. OpCapita brought in former Dixons chief John Clare to help turn the business around, but has struggled with tightened supplier terms and a loss of credit insurance.

Spokespeople for all parties involved declined to comment.

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