British billionaire Philip Day is taking on rival bidder Mike Ashley to keep struggling retailer Jack Wills out of administration.
Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s (EWM) offer for the “preppy” fashion brand would seek to avoid a pre-pack administration, it was revealed as the bidding war between the two retail tycoons entered its final hours.
Under the proposed deal, EWM would set up a £12m working capital fund to cover its immediate costs.
Yesterday it was reported that Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley was the preferred bidder for the embattled high street brand.
Ashley’s offer would involve Jack Wills entering a pre-pack administration, according to Sky News.
Day is seeking to avoid the insolvency process, which would place the retailer under administration and see it immediately sold on without its debt.
Professional services firm KPMG could announce the new owner of the firm as soon as today.
EWM has recently bought brands including Jaeger and Peacocks, and has taken over Bonmarche.
Ashley has also 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”.