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Department Stores

House of Fraser fate could be decided today

A decision could be made on the future of House of Fraser today as its creditors assess takeover bids made by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, retail tycoon Philip Day, and retail turnaround fund Alteri Investors.

According to Sky News, PwC spent Wednesday (8 August) afternoon negotiating on the 169-year-old’s department store chain’s behalf and a decision is expected to be finalised later today.

In June, the department store chain approved a CVA, agreeing to shutter 31 of its 59 stores.

C.Banner, the owner of Hamleys, was set to acquire a 51% majority stake in the company in a £150m deal which would have left House of Fraser £50m short to service the remainder of its debts.

But last week, C.Banner pulled out of its rescue deal after the retailer’s share price fell significantly. At the time, C.Banner told the Hong Kong stock exchange that the share price “dropped to a level” which was “far below the placing price range of HK$2.40 to HK$3.00 per placing share”.

It is reported by a takeover by Philip Day would see the department store avoid administration. Day recently purchased collapsed brand Jacques Vert, and already owns Jaeger, Peacocks, Jane Norman and previously Austin Reed, through his firm the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.

If Mike Ashley – who owns an 11% stake in House of Fraser already – wins the bid it is thought that he would put the retailer through a pre-pack administration which would see it shed its liabilities and debts.

If Alteri Investors acquire House of Fraser, it is reported that this would include expanding on the restructuring plan which has been agreed by the department store’s creditors.

PwC refused to comment when asked by Retail Sector on whether a decision should be expected by the close of play today (Thursday 9 August).

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