The struggling parcel courier Yodel is preparing to call in administrators as hopes of a rescue deal fade, threatening disruption to online shopping.
Insolvency experts at Teneo have been lined up after efforts to find a buyer for a company which provides delivery services for some of the high street’s biggest names began to flounder.
Yodel’s customers include John Lewis, Argos, Zara and AO World, according to its website.
No decision to appoint administrators has been made and Yodel said on Wednesday it was “business as usual”.
An insolvency would deal a fresh blow to the Barclay family, who own Yodel and The Telegraph, and have been struggling under heavy debts. The courier is a crucial contractor to the online retailer Very, the biggest of their companies.
A source close to negotiations over Yodel’s future said its looming financial obligations mean an urgent cash injection is required within two weeks. The business had never made a profit until the Government-imposed coronavirus lockdown massively boosted online shopping.
Although the company has enough cash to pay its delivery drivers the week after next, it is expected to struggle to cover future costs after this. Liverpool-based Yodel employs 12,000 nationwide during its busiest periods and around 10,000 the rest of the year, it said on its website.
It is understood takeover interest has come from several rivals including the Polish logistics outfit InPost and delivery upstart Shift, as well as a small handful of private equity and turnaround funds but appetite is said to be waning. The Delivery Group, another rival, pulled out of the process a month ago, sources said.