New saviour at Brown & Jackson: South African group to inject pounds 20m and gain three seats on board

BROWN & JACKSON, the troubled Poundstretcher discount shops chain, has agreed a rescue package with the South African retailer Pepkor - just 48 hours before shareholders were to vote on a rival deal.

The B&J board originally endorsed refinancing proposals from the millionaire husband and wife team Gerald and Vera Weisfeld, but last night directors unanimously backed a plan for Pepkor to inject up to pounds 56.2m. 'Pepkor is simply the better deal,' a spokesman said.

B&J shareholders were to vote on the Weisfelds' proposals at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday, now likely to be adjourned. Pepkor's initial investment will be about pounds 20m - payment of pounds 500,000 for 12.5 million new shares at 4p, pounds 7.5m in convertible loan notes, and a pounds 12m trade finance agreement. The company also has options on 128 million new shares for a total of between pounds 3.2m and pounds 9.6m. Pepkor's total investment could give it 63 per cent of B&J.

Pepkor will take three seats on the board. John Jackson will step down as B&J's chairman but remain a non-executive. He will be replaced by Christo Wiese, head of Pepkor. Ian Gray, B&J's chief executive, and Bob Ellis, finance director, remain in their jobs. The Weisfelds, whose What Everyone Wants clothing chain later became Amber Day, were offering to inject pounds 6m into B&J in return for 19 per cent and two seats on the board. They had been negotiating with B&J since at least March when the company, which owns 220 Poundstretcher stores employing 4,000 people, announced it had failed to secure a pounds 14m working capital facility from its bankers.

The couple could not be contacted last night, but had previously accused Pepkor of knowing nothing of UK retailing. They are unlikely to be pleased that their proposals were scuppered at the last minute, though they could come forward with a renewed offer.

Pepkor already owns 40 Your More Store shops in Scotland, Poundstretcher's heartland. The company tried to buy Poundstretcher from Lowndes Queensway in 1988 but was beaten by B&J.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'