Mike Ashley outlines ambitions for House of Fraser after take-over

Mike Ashley Director of Sports Direct

Administrators were appointed to the historic retailer this morning.

The announcement came just two hours after the formal court hearing to put House of Fraser into administration.

Sports Direct, owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, has agreed to buy struggling high street department store House of Fraser for £90m in cash, it was revealed this morning.

"In addition, it will be interesting to see how Sport's Direct's multichannel experience could help to turn around House of Fraser's department stores' ill-fate".

"It was a challenging transaction to achieve in such a short period of time which will ensure continuity of the business and preserve the goodwill".

If there is a more hopeless business to be in than department stores, it is hard to think of it.

Back in June House of Fraser announced that 31 stores would be closing, impacting around 6,000 jobs.

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Under the buy-out stores could be re-branded while staff will be transferred over to Sports Direct. The CVA could yet be implemented, but some reports have suggested that some HoF locations could be converted into Sports Direct stores.

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

House of Fraser opened at Rushden Lakes almost a year ago on August 24.

Dr Gordon Fletcher of Salford Business School said: "This makes good business sense for Ashley".

The would-be rescuers were told to submit their "best and final offers" yesterday to PwC, which is advising House of Fraser's lenders and bondholders.

House of Fraser is set to fall into administration today, the company has said. That is in a prime location and Ashley seems to want upmarket and inner-city locations. 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.

"House of Fraser confirms that discussions continue with interested investors and its main secured creditors, which are focused on concluding as quickly as possible to enable receipt of an investment required by no later than 20 August 2018", the group said in a statement on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. "So House of Fraser may well survive but it might look a bit different under the new regime".

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