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Boohoo acquires Debenhams in £55m deal but all stores to close

25 January 2021

Boohoo acquires Debenhams in £55m deal but all stores to close

25 January 2021

Boohoo, the fashion retailer, has paid £55m to purchase Debenhams' brand. The intention is to relaunch the collapsed brand online only.

The cut-price deal for the brand name, intellectual property and customer lists will eventually lead to the closure of Debenhams' 118 stores since no sites are included in the sale.

Administrators at FRP Advisory confirmed that once COVID-19 restrictions permit, stores would re-open for the purpose of clearing stock. A fire sale will continue online.

This leaves over 10,000 staff facing the prospect of redundancy. 

On the matter, Boohoo say: "Debenhams is a long-standing and leading UK fashion and beauty retailer with high brand awareness, and an established online platform with approximately 300 million UK website visits per annum. This makes it a top 10 retail website in the UK by traffic. The transaction represents a fantastic opportunity to grow the group's target addressable market and increase the share of wallet opportunity through a new capital light and low-risk operating model that is complementary to the group's highly successful direct-to-consumer multi-brand platform."

13 January 2021

Today's news hits that Debenhams confirms plans to close six of its stores for good. This includes its London flagship store on Oxford Street, which will affect 320 members of staff.

FRP Advisory continue to work with the department store chain and enage in conversation with a number of third parties regarding the sale of all or parts of the business. 

As of the announcement made on December 1st 2020, Debenhams will continue to plan for the ongoing wind-down of the business.

7 December 2020

This morning we have confirmation that Mike Ashley's Frasers Group is in talks over a potential rescue deal for Debenhams.

Discussions and negotiations are being held with administrators of the collapsing retailers UK business.

When announcing this update in a stock market statement, it was also said: "Whilst Frasers group hopes that a rescue package can be put in place and jobs saved, time is short and the position is further complicated by the recent administration of the Arcadia group, Debenhams' biggest concession holder. There is no certainty that any transaction will take place, particularly if discussions cannot be concluded swiftly."

1 December 2020

Debenhams likely to close following the collapse of talks to buy the department store by JD Sports.  The business will trade until all stock is cleared.  It is possible that a buyer will reappear later but it is unlikely. 12,000 jobs are at risk as are 124 sites.

JD Sports were thought to be the only entity left in the sale process which administrators initiated after the department store chain collapsed earlier this year.

It appears the collapse of Arcadia Grroup spooked the sportswear chain into their decision.

Debenhams released a statement on the matter this morning: ''JD Sports Fashion, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated."

19 October 2020

Mike Ashley renews his bid for Debenhams.

This comes as Lazard's auction for the retailer, nears its final stages. It is heard Mr Ashleys' offer is somewhat improved.

11 October 2020

Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, has pulled out of the race to buy Debenhams. Other parties remain interested.

23 September 2020

Though there is no certainty that his interest will develop into a formal bid, Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man and the powerhouse behind one of the country's largest conglomerates, has joined the listing of parties who are in discussions with advisers about acquiring part or all of the 242-year-old struggling retailer.

The emergence of Mr Ambani and his Reliance retail empire comes as a shock, especially amid the struggling retail market conditions being faced by the coronavirus pandemic.

01 September 2020

Debenhams set a deadline for takeover bids to 5pm today. Lazard, who are overseeing the sale process request this as administrator, FRP Advisory, seek to conclude a sale of the business by this month end. If a sale is not complete then alternative options will be looked at, putting job losses on the line. 

15 August 2020

In the latest news, Debenhams' owners have appointed Hilco Capital to begin drawing up liquidation plans for the struggling department store chain, in the event that a sale comes unsuccessful.

Contingency planning is underway this weekend as a future is seeking to be found for the 242-year-old retailer, ahead of the crucial pre-Christmas trading period.

26 July 2020

It has been reported by The Guardian that the 242-year-old department store chain, Debenhams, has appointed investment bank Lazard this weekend to oversee a sale process. Hopes are that a buyer is secured before the end of September.

This becomes the third time in a year that the struggling retailer has gone through a type of insolvency procedure. Last year it went through a pre-pack administration before a company voluntary arrangement.

FRP Advisory is working alongside the management team as it goes through a ‘’light touch’’ administration, meaning directors are running the business instead of handing over control to administrators completely.

18 stores have been shut, creating a loss of over 1,000 jobs from its shops and London HQ. 124 stores continue to trade after lease negotiations with landlords went underway.

‘’Now that Debenhams has 124 stores in the UK open and is trading ahead of expectations, the administrators of Debenhams Retail Ltd have initiated a process to assess ways for the business to exit its protective administration.’’

Outcomes as a result of this vary from the sale to a third party (of which several buyers have already expressed interest), a potential new joint venture arrangement and even the current owners retaining the business. Liquidation has not yet been ruled out, if further investment is not found. 

‘’The administrators will be guided by what delivers the best outcome for creditors.’’

The retailers’ Irish arm has already been placed into liquidation, but liquidation of the whole group is unlikely and would only occur if all other options have been expended.

Debenhams is not the only retailer to be hit by Covid-19. John Lewis and Marks and Spencer’s are also among those hit and having to cut jobs and close stores in order to survive. Debenhams however faced difficulty pre-virus since they already were struggling with a £600m debt pile. This followed by havign to adapt to changing consumer habits brought on from the unprecedented pandemic, encouraging consumers to move to shopping online accelerated its difficulties.

Categories: Retail, Complete Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation CVL

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