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Companies House refusing name swap on hive down

Companies House refusing name swap on hive down

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A client is in the process of selling its trade. The purchaser will not acquire the existing company, so the vendor company has created NewCo as a wholly-owned subsidiary and has transferred the trade. The purchaser wants the trading name of the old company, so the intention was to do a simple name swap between parent and subsidiary, but Companies House have refused on the basis there are similarly named companies.

We pointed out to Companies House that there is an exception available for groups whereby consent from the parent company will permit the transfer. This exemption is presumably to cover exactly this type of situation, but they have come back and said that permission must also be obtained from the rival companies with similar names and that they must be prepared to give up their names. Clearly, this is just not going to happen - why would the rivals give up their names -  and my client is now caught in a situation where the sale may not go ahead. We have complained to the Director of Customer Service who confirms their original stance. The only option left is the Adjudicator, but they will not consider issues of company law.

The similarity of names is clearly a commercial issue, but it is hard to see who is being protected here. My client has been around for significantly longer than the competition, whose permission we now need to apparently seek, yet the competitors will be in exactly the same situation as now.

The stupidity of this stance is hard to credit, but does anyone have any experience in handling this?

Many thanks


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By tonycourt
17th Sep 2012 15:18

It can be done indirectly

While what CH have said is correct it sounds to me like they are being pedantic.

I experienced a similar situation with a Ltd company wanting to assume the name of the LLP from which it acquired its trade. After coming up against the same problem you have I spoke to a company formation agent who said the process of switching the name can't be done directly, but it can be achieved in a matter of days where statements from the former company directors (in my case it was the partners of the LLP) confirmed they had no objection to the new co using the name.  

Essentially it involves the old co changing its name first and the new co changing its name shortly after.

I don't know the details beyond that - I suggest you speak to a company formation agent.

Good luck 

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By natsyn
24th May 2013 10:41

name swap

Some years ago, I was involved in a Company name swap whereby the names were swapped simultaneously (I think?). What would be the process for that to happen these days?

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