Feb 10, 2019
Ashley ditches Patisserie Valerie bid after 2 days
Sports Direct has pulled its offer to buy Patisserie Valerie after just two days, complaining of being shut out of the bidding process for the beleaguered café chain. Mr Ashley has a history of seeking to buy ailing high street retailers, including recent approaches for department store House of Fraser, cycle-shop company Evans Cycles and music chain HMV. On Sunday Sports Direct wrote to the Patisserie Valerie administrators, KPMG, complaining of lacking the information required to continue bidding for the group and its subsidiaries which include the Baker & Spice and Philpotts restaurant brands. Chris Wootton, deputy chief financial officer for Sports Direct, wrote to David Costley-Wood, the KPMG partner leading the administration process, to say it had made a "Serious and substantial offer" in excess of £15m, only to be told that it would need to increase that offer by as much as £2m. As a result Sports Direct withdrew its interest, arguing that it needed more detailed financial information about the Patisserie Valerie businesses than was being provided. KPMG declined to comment, but a person brief on the discussions said Sports Direct was given the opportunity to see detailed financial material on Patisserie Valerie. Finance director Chris Marsh was suspended and later resigned, followed shortly afterwards by the chief executive Paul May. According to a company stock exchange announcement on January 22, Patisserie Valerie's failure - which came after long negotiations with its two main lenders, HSBC and Barclays - was the "Direct result" of the fraud.
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