House of Fraser: Sports Direct Mike Ashley close to buying chain after administration

The Chinese-owned firm confirmed it was going into adminsitation today.

The fate of 17,500 staff members who work for HoF and the concessions in its stores hangs in the balance, more than 6,000 roles have already been earmarked to be lost with the closure of 31 stores.

The administrator plans to keep the business trading, including all stores and offices, while they seek to complete a sale.

All stores will be open for business as usual today, the company said.

Billionaire tycoons Mike Ashley and Philip Day, and the retail turnaround fund Alteri Investors, submitted “best and final” offers to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is advising HoF’s lenders and bondholders, on Thursday.

Sky is reporting that Mike Ashley is close to buying the chain.

The tussle over the fate of one of the UK’s best-known retailers follows a frantic scramble for cash following the decision of Hamley’s Chinese owner, C.banner International, to abandon a £70m rescue package for HoF last week.

Without £40m of new funding by 20 August to pay concession operators, HoF would be unable to survive, with further money required to meet the chain’s £5m-a-month rent bill.

So far this year, Maplin, Poundworld and Toys R Us UK have all fallen into administration, triggering about 10,000 job losses.

Numerous other chains have launched Company Voluntary Arrangement mechanisms to raise hopes of their survival, but at the cost of thousands more jobs.

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