Mike Ashley prises business plan from House of Fraser after court action
The Sports Direct boss lodged a petition at High Court, demanding the plan from House of Fraser.
House of Fraser has bowed to pressure from Mike Ashley and handed a business plan to the tracksuit tycoon following legal action.
Mr Ashley, who owns an 11% stake in House of Fraser through Sports Direct, filed a court injunction earlier this year to demand a copy of the document, claiming he had been “frozen out”.
House of Fraser’s management has now sent the document to Mr Ashley, the Press Association understands, handing him crucial information that could aide a dramatic swoop on the business.
Mr Ashley, who holds stakes in a string of retailers including Debenhams, has long been linked with a takeover of House of Fraser.
However, the document was prepared towards the end of 2017, before House of Fraser announced a sweeping store closure programme and fresh investment as part of a rescue plan.
A group of House of Fraser’s landlords, including Westfield, have also asked for access to the same document, but were rebuffed on the basis that it contains commercially sensitive information permitted only for shareholders.
The conglomerate of landlords, advised by restructuring experts Begbies Traynor, first approached House of Fraser’s advisers KPMG at the end of May, and met with them last week.
However, landlords were informed House of Fraser was restricted from sharing its financial information because it had publicly listed bonds.
The landlords are also seeking advice from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner about the possibility of disputing House of Fraser’s restructuring plan, known as a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA).
The restructuring will involve the closure of 31 House of Fraser stores, affecting around 6,000 jobs.
Landlords will have the opportunity to vote on the CVA on Friday June 22, but are considering whether to challenge how their vote share is calculated.
If the group is to secure an emergency hearing on the CVA, it will need to make a filing in court this week.
However, sources close to House of Fraser said the voting shares have not been calculated, and are only tallied up on the day of the vote itself, making it impossible for the landlords to put forward such a challenge.
House of Fraser must push through its CVA plan to receive new investment from Hamleys owner C.Banner.
C.Banner is buying a 51% stake in House of Fraser, and also intends to subscribe for new shares in the business to inject new cash.