Less than 48 hours to save Wilko: Deadline for bids to save affected chain
Wilko bidders have less than 48 hours to save the crisis-hit retailer after it collapsed.
The High Street chain fell into administration last week, jeopardizing the future of its 400 stores and 12,500 workers.
PwC administrators have set a deadline of tomorrow’s close of business for a bailout deal to be reached in a bid to save jobs.
Rival discount chains including B&M and Home Bargains are among those believed to be interested in a deal.
Wilko continues to operate and has yet to announce any redundancies after formally entering insolvency last week.
Rescue hopes: Wilko fell into administration last week, jeopardizing the future of its 400 stores and 12,500 workers
Chief Executive Mark Jackson said last Thursday that he had received “a significant level of interest” from potential buyers but was “left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action” after failing to close a solvent sale.
The administration process means that bidders are not expected to take on all of the company’s liabilities, such as costly debts, as part of any deal.
Wilko is understood to have held talks with private equity firms Gordon Brothers, which owns Laura Ashley, and Alteri, which owns Bensons for Beds, while seeking financing to keep it afloat before eventually entering management.
It’s unclear if either party will enter the latest process to potentially buy Wilko’s brand, stores or other assets.
Union bosses criticized the retailer’s management, admitting that the situation was “unfortunately, completely avoidable”.
Wilko paid out a total of £77m to its owners and former shareholders in the decade before it collapsed, the Mail on Sunday revealed over the weekend.
The chain was controlled by descendants of the founder, James Kemsey Wilkinson. Wilko is known for selling an affordable range of DIY, gardening and cosmetic products.
Recently, however, it has been losing market share to rival discounters like B&M.