Aug 10, 2018

Industry ponders rationale for Ashley’s House of Fraser swoop

Mike Ashley's £90m swoop on the wreckage of House of Fraser will remain controversial for years to come, and not just for the manner in which it was accomplished. The purchase of House of Fraser was secured via a pre-pack administration, a controversial insolvency procedure that allows companies to jettison pension liabilities and other claims. House of Fraser owed £60m-£70m to suppliers and concessionaires when it entered administration. In a short statement, Mr Ashley promised to turn House of Fraser into the "Harrods of the high street" and name-checked Flannels, the upmarket fashion group he already owns. Mr Bubb said that buying the rest of Debenhams would be "Throwing good money after bad." It will take money, time and commitment to prove that buying troubled House of Fraser was not a similarly risky act.

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