Belfast Telegraph

House of Fraser £70m lifeline is withdrawn

By Helen Cahill

House of Fraser's future is in doubt after C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled its investment into the troubled retail chain.

C.banner was planning to buy a 51% stake in House of Fraser and plough £70m into the ailing business, but has said it is scrapping the deal because its share price has fallen dramatically.

House of Fraser, which has one store in Northern Ireland as anchor tenant of Belfast's Victoria Square Shopping Centre, says it "is in discussions with alternative investors and is exploring options to obtain the required investment on the same timetable".

C.banner's investment was conditional upon House of Fraser, which employs more than 17,000 people, closing more than half its stores through the so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

However, the store closures were thrown off course when landlords issued a legal challenge.

House of Fraser has previously described the restructuring proposal and investment from C.banner as the last viable option for the business, raising the prospect that it could now fall into administration.

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, has reportedly offered House of Fraser a £50m loan in recent weeks. However, it is understood he is not involved in the current talks.

Belfast Telegraph

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