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?