Potential suitors have been given until the end of business today to make a £300m bid for ailing department store chain Debenhams and its 12,000 workers.
Advisors have told prospective buyers, which include Sports Direct owner and retail tycoon Mike Ashley, to make an offer or leave the table, reported The Times.
If a buyer is not secured, the retailer and its 124 UK stores could be liquidated.
However, advisors are said to be drawing up alternative plans for the high street chain if it does not sell.
This could mean selling off parts of the business to hedge funds that own Debenhams’ debts.
Debenhams entered a protective administration in April this year in order to prevent legal action against the retailer from creditors.
Earlier this month, Debenhams’ list of potential buyers shortened when the retailer’s front run buyer Reliance Retail – owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani – dropped out of the race.
Ashley, who failed in his attempt to buyout the business in 2019, after Debenhams fell into the hands of lenders, is reported to have offered £125m for the company.
Meanwhile, a selection of Debenhams’ former stores have been snapped up by British beauty, fashion and homeware retailer Next.
The company has since revamped the stores as dedicated beauty and home outlets.