Mike Ashley left ‘furious’ over Debenhams exclusion as liquidation preparations begin

By Becky Bargh 2-Nov-2020

The Frasers owner said there had been a “deliberate attempt” to exclude the group from the process

Retail tycoon and billionaire businessman Mike Ashley has reportedly been left furious after being shut out of the auction of Debenhams.

According to The Times, the Frasers Group owner said data provided to make a bid for the ailing department store chain was “woefully inadequate” and that it was “almost unbelievable” that the group was expected to make a bid on the information provided.

In a letter to investment bank Lazard, Frasers said there had been a “deliberate attempt to exclude us from the process”.

Ashley is said to have taken his complaints to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pension Protection Fund.

Last week, the beauty and fashion retailer gave prospective buyers a midweek deadline to make the £300m bailout or to step away from the race.

At the time Ashley was reported to have offered £125m for the company.

Booming online retailer and big beauty player The Hut Group is also said to have made a bid, but is now out of the running.

However, Debenhams’ future is still hanging in the balance.

The recent England-wide lockdown will force the retailer to close its doors once again for a minimum of four weeks, hindering its sales further.

At the beginning of the first nationwide lockdown Debenhams entered ‘light touch’ administration to protect the company from legal action by creditors.

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Now, according to sources, restructuring company Hilco Capital has pulled together a bid that will allow the retailer to operate some stores.

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