It’s been confirmed that Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct chain has stepped in to save House of Fraser, acquiring all its UK stores, the brand and all stakes in the business for £90m.
The retail tycoon and owner of Newcastle United sealed the deal earlier today after closing an agreement to buy the department store chain from EY, the accountancy firm that was appointed just this morning to act as administrator.
All 59 of the brand’s store were open as usual today, including the 31 that had already been marked for closure.
Details of what would happen to HoF’s 17,500 staff and its 11,500 concession employees were still unclear as the deal went through.
Sports Direct said in a statement: “The group has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business.”
Ashley already held an 11% stake in the department store chain and also owns close to 30% of its closest rival Debenhams.
Rescue talks to save HoF failed on Thursday evening after it was reported the discussion had ‘not concluded in a solvent solution.
However, it hinted that a deal to buy the group was close, noting that, “significant progress has been made towards completing a sale of the group’s business and assets”.
Earlier this month Chinese firm C.banner International abandoned a £70m funding deal to rescue HoF, and in recent days it was reported that Ashley fought competition from the owner of Edniburgh Woolen Mills, Philip Day.