Hundreds of jobs are at risk following the last minute collapse of a takeover bid by Somerset-based Shoon for the footwear division of London-based Jane Shilton, City A.M. has learnt.
The deal for 39 footwear outlets in department stores across the UK had been due to complete on 31 July but Shoon, backed by GA Europe, pulled the plug following terrible trading conditions for the industry during the first half of 2013.
It is thought GA Europe decided to back out after deciding it was no longer the right time to deal and the investment case was no longer there.
The decision raises questions over the future of Jane Shilton, which had planned to refocus on its handbag business.
Jane Shilton's pre-tax losses hit £1.9m for the year ending 30 June 2012.
When the deal was announced in march Jane Shilton managing director David Shilton said it was a "very good outcome" for the business and said he hoped it would thrive under Shoon's ownership.
GA Europe and Shoon declined to comment. Jane Shilton did not return calls.