Sports Direct buys House of Fraser out of administration

Rex Christensen
August 10, 2018

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has reportedly bought the store chain for £90million after it went into administration.

The retailer has one store in Dublin and one in Belfast, though neither were in the cohort of outlets marked for closure under the rescue plan.

However, the chain announced earlier today that it was calling in the administrators in a further bid to try and save the company.

Alan Hudson of EY, joint administrator, said: "We have worked very closely with management, its advisors and creditors in recent weeks and are pleased that we have been able to successfully conclude a sale of the business in short timescales which preserves as numerous jobs of House of Frasers employees as possible".

House of Fraser, which employs 17,500 people and has 59 stores across the country, previously announced it had entered administration after talks between investors and creditors broke down.

"All stores will be open for business as usual today".

House of Fraser in The Oracle.

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House of Fraser chief executive Alex Williamson had this morning spoken of his confidence that the company's future would be secured in short order, saying "an acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength".

Prior to the latest crisis, House of Fraser had recently agreed a so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with landlords to close half of stores, with 6,000 jobs in the firing line.

It is understood that Mr Day's proposal was in excess of £100 million, would have avoided an administration and included House of Fraser's pension scheme. It's hoped that the rescue deal will save a significant number of jobs.

"Despite the very recent termination of the transaction between Cenbest and C.banner, I am confident House of Fraser is close to securing its future".

It is unclear what Mr Ashley's plans are for the chain - but the move could in theory offer a reprieve for staff and customers.

"House of Fraser confirms that discussions continue with interested investors and its main secured creditors, which are focused on concluding as quickly as possible to enable receipt of an investment required by no later than 20 August 2018", the group said in a statement on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

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