Belfast Telegraph

Belfast House of Fraser staff to be transferred to Sports Direct and store could be rebranded after take-over

House of Fraser bought by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has struck a deal to rescue House of Fraser out of administration for £90 million, raising hopes for the future of thousands of staff.

Notices placed on the doors of the Belfast department store said it would open later than usual at 11am on Friday after the chain entered administration. Under the buy-out stores could be rebranded while staff will be transferred over to Sports Direct. There has been no announcement yet on the future of the Belfast store.

In a stock market announcement, Sports Direct said it has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the brand and all of the stock in the business.

Some 17,000 staff are being informed that they will be transferred over from House of Fraser to Sports Direct.

The deal was struck through a pre-pack administration process, where a company is put into administration before a new buyer cherry picks the best assets.

The tycoon beat off competition from retail rival Philip Day, the billionaire owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

It is understood that Mr Day's proposal was in excess of £100 million, would have avoided an administration and included House of Fraser's pension scheme.

However, accountancy giant EY, which was overseeing the process, opted for Mr Ashley's offer.

Sources said that Mr Ashley will now begin the process of turning some House of Fraser stores into Sports Direct outlets and rebrand others under the Flannels fascia.

Prior to its collapse, Mr Ashley had held an 11% stake in the department store chain.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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