Wilko – the latest

Posted on Sep 01, 2023. by NTI

Now that the newsroom have brought you the story of Babylon Holdings, Billy piped up to say shouldn’t an insolvency, restructuring and advisory news service bring its readers an update on the Wilko situation.  And when we heard it involved an expletive filled interview and the chair of M2 Capital more concerned with “going to lunch with a very pretty girl”, the newsroom realised Billy’s sensible idea for the month had happened.

So, how did we get here…..

As we have reported, Wilko entered into administration on 10 August with PwC being appointed as administrators.  As of last Friday it looked like no overall buyer would be found, resulting in the possible redundancies of the 12,500 workforce and closure of the 400 stores. 

However, last weekend M2 capital confirmed they had made a £90million bid for the business and publicly pledged to retain all employees’ jobs for two years.  However, it is reported that the private equity firm was unable to provide proof of funding for its bid to PwC prior to a deadline on Wednesday. 

It was then that M2 Capital chairman Robert Mantse told the BBC that his dealings with the administrators had been a "circus" before issuing his “pretty girl” comment when asked what his next steps would be (in the context of whether he was considering legal action).  The second comment does suggest the first might be a little way from the truth.

With the last deal to buy the business as a whole having fallen through, PwC confirmed the first redundancies would begin on Monday 4th September with 269 staff from the Worksop support centre being cut.

Then, Canadian businessman Doug Putman, best known for reviving HMV (whose family also own Toys R Us in their native Canada), submitted an offer which would plan to keep up to 300 of the stores open.  The BBC is reporting this afternoon (Friday 1 September) that this deal is edging closer. 

Another story that looks set to run and run.  One can only thank that Mike Ashley’s name does not appear to have been mentioned yet – Oh Bother!

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