House of Fraser stores taken over by Sports Direct

House of Fraser to appoint administrators after investment talks fail

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct saves 17,000 jobs as he buys House of Fraser (HoF) for £90m.

The retailer announced this morning that discussions between interested investors and its main creditors did not conclude in a "solvent solution" and it had no choice but to appoint administrators.

Prior to the administration Sports Direct had owned 11 percent of House of Fraser. We will await further news over the coming weeks and months to see how the sale of House of Fraser to Mike Ashley will specifically impact upon the Royal Leamington Spa store.

The would-be rescuers were told to submit their "best and final offers" yesterday to PwC, which is advising House of Fraser's lenders and bondholders.

'This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector, ' Ashley said.

"The company does not want to engage in any meaningful sense with Unite at Shirebrook and this obviously sparks concern at the fate that awaits the House of Fraser staff under the new ownership".

The ailing chain's 59 shops are partly a property play for Ashley, who will be renegotiating all the leases with landlords over the next year.

Joint administrator Alan Hudson said the sale "preserves as numerous jobs of House of Fraser's employees as possible".

Full details of Mr Ashley's plans for House of Fraser are yet to be announced.

Ashley's stated desire is to make Sports Direct the "Selfridges of sport", emulating the status of the department store on London's Oxford Street.

The tycoon beat off competition from retail rival Philip Day, the billionaire owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Paul McCarthy, centre manager at Intu Chapelfield, said: "We are aware that House of Fraser has been bought by Sports Direct".

Frank Slevin, chairman of House of Fraser, says he's confident the business is "close to securing its future".

"We're aware that stores were due to close under the CVA and that may still be the case, but Belfast has always been a very strong trading store for House of Fraser so the fundamentals here are still very strong".

Now, the government has indicated that it could bow to mounting pressure to reform the punitive business rates system after the tax was named among factors which contributed to House of Fraser's downfall.

The accelerating pace of the crisis was made plain on Thursday when the beleaguered department store chain revealed that it had to secure funding before August 20 as crunch talks with potential rescuers continued.



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