Potential suitors for the embattled department store chain Debenhams have been given a midweek deadline to make a £300m rescue bid or walk away.
According to the Sunday Times, bidders, which include Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, have been told to make a binding commitment by the end of Wednesday by Debenhams’ advisers, or it may consider taking alternative action.
Reports suggest that alternative options include selling parts of the business to hedge funds that own some of its debts or even to liquidate the company.
Debenhams collapsed into administration for the second time in April, and appointed Geoff Rowley and Alastair Massey of FRP Advisory to handle the process.
The group said it entered administration in order to “protect Debenhams in the UK from the threat of legal action” that could have the effect of pushing the business into liquidation while its sites remained closed.
In July, Debenhams confirmed that administrators were considering the sale of the chain to a third party, in a bid to lead the business out of its current administration.
It appointed investment bank Lazard to oversee the sale process, and had hoped to “secure a buyer before the end of September”.
Debenhams currently operates 120 stores and employs around 12,000 people.