House of Fraser appoints administrators after talks to save firm fall flat

House of Fraser appoints administrators after talks to save firm fall flat

High street chain House of Fraser is to appoint administrators after negotiations between investors and creditors failed to reach a "solvent solution."

Takeover bids were submitted from billionaire tycoons Mike Ashley and Philip Day, and the retail turnaround fund Alteri Investors in a bid to save the struggling 169-year-old firm.

Talks took place yesterday between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the three prospective buyers.

However the company said today that "discussions with interested investors and its main secured creditors have not concluded in a solvent solution" and it would therefore appoint Ernst & Young as administrators.

The chain will continue trading while a sale is arranged by Ernst & Young.

Sports Direct tycoon and Newcastle United owner Mr Ashley is close to reaching a deal with administrators, Sky News reported today

31 of House of Fraser's 59 branches have already been earmarked for closure, including its flagship London Oxford Street outlet.

Up to 17,000 jobs are now at risk. House of Fraser said in June it needed to shut 31 stores and make up to 6,000 people redundant to survive, but that rescue plan was thrown into doubt after Chinese group C.banner pulled out of a plan to inject new equity.

The retailer's current owners are Nanjing Cenbest, part of China's Sanpower Group.

Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser, said: "We are hopeful that the current negotiations will shortly be concluded.

"An acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength.

"In the two weeks since the Cenbest and C.Banner transaction ceased, the directors have brought forward a number of potential buyers and the group's financial advisors have run a comprehensive M&A process to identify and then develop other third party interest that has culminated in the senior secured creditors leading negotiations with parties at a critical pace."

House of Fraser chairman Frank Slevin said: "This has been an extraordinarily challenging six months in which the business has delivered so many critical elements of the turnaround plan.

"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."

This story is being updated.

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