Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has emerged as the favourite to buy struggling fashion brand Jack Wills
Sports Direct is the preferred bidder for the retailer and a deal could be struck as soon as tomorrow, Sky News reported.
Sources told the broadcaster that the deal was expected to be a pre-pack administration.
An insider warned that a deal had not yet been signed, however, if it goes ahead a restructuring of the business could put some of Jack Wills’ 1800 employees and 110 stores at risk.
The potential administration is expected to be handled by professional services firm KPMG.
It was revealed yesterday that Sports Direct and Edinburgh Woollen Mill, owned by British billionaire Philip Day, were the two remaining bidders for Jack Wills.
Ashley has been on a retail acquisition spree and recent purchases include Evan’s Cycles and Sofa.com. However, in last week’s delayed full-year results the mogul described the problems at House of Fraser, which he bought out of administration, as “terminal”.
Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill group has recently bought brands including Jaeger and Peacocks, and has taken over Bonmarche.
Jack Wills is owned by Bluegem, an investment firm, which is unlikely to see a return on its sale of the fashion chain.
Jack Wills declined to comment. Sports Direct did not respond to City A.M’s request for comment.