Monday, 15 October, 2018

House of Fraser bought by Sports Direct for £90m

House of Fraser store sign. House of Fraser has settled a legal challenge from landlords over plans to close 31 of its 59 stores next year. PRESS ASSOCIATION There are 17,000 jobs at risk as House of Fraser goes into administration
Shannon Reynolds | 10 August, 2018, 22:51

Over the past year, there's been a raft of store closures, administrations and CVAs being announced, which in part, has been blamed on the increasing online and social media retail space.

A brief statement from Mr Ashley's business this morning saiod: "Sports Direct International plc announces the acquisition of the business and assets of House of Fraser from the administrators of House of Fraser Limited, House of Fraser (Stores) Limited and James Beattie Limited, the House of Fraser group's main operating companies, for a cash consideration of £90 million".

The Sports Direct chief added: "This is a massive step forward and further enhances our strategy of elevation across the group". This precipitated a three-way tussle between retail billionaires Ashley and Philip Day as well as a proposal by Alteri Investors, with Ashley ultimately emerging on top.

Court hearings are expected to take place at 7:30am today, "at which orders will be sought appointing individuals from Earnest & Young as administrators of each of the operating companies with immediate effect", the filing said. This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector. The advantages brought by the warehouses and logistics already managed by this group will be an important key in the recovery of the House of Fraser's fortunes.

"It is vital that we restore the right level of ongoing relationships with the luxury brands".

Prior to its collapse, Mr Ashley had held an 11% stake in the department store chain.

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The deal will see the tycoon tighten his grip over the British high street, adding to his sports retailing and "premium fashion" empire.

The billionaire has held an 11% stake in the business since 2014 and also owns nearly 30% of Debenhams, its main rival.

"Pursuant to the transaction, the group has acquired all of the United Kingdom stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business".

But its survival hopes were dealt a blow last week when C.banner, the Hong Kong-listed owner of Hamleys, dropped plans for a fundraising that would have allowed it to buy a 51 per cent stake in House of Fraser's parent group for £70million and invest a similar amount in the business.

It is unclear what the status of the CVA is following the takeover.

Like other retailers, House of Fraser has been stung by soaring costs and falling consumer spending power. Turning around the business will not come easy.

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