Blacks to go into administration

 

Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure confirmed today it will go into administration but said it still hopes most of the business will be salvaged by buyers.

The company, which runs 98 Blacks outlets and 208 Millets stores and employs some 3,600 staff, admitted it has failed to find an outright buyer after putting itself up for sale following dire trading.

But it has received offers for the trade, assets and brands of the group and expects to announce the appointment of administrators in coming days to allow the sale as part of a pre-pack deal.

It also said its shares will be suspended from today because the deal will attribute no value to its stock.

Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and sportswear firm JD Sports are among the likely bidders.

It is hoped that the deal will help it save many of the jobs by allowing buyers to cherry-pick its best assets, including the profitable stores.

However, some job losses are widely expected, particularly at its head office and warehouse in Northampton, which costs the company around £26 million a year, including rent and wages.

The company will continue trading as normal as the details of the deal are thrashed out over coming days.

A pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration - would see most of its £36 million of debt wiped out and its worst-performing stores closed.

The process is viewed as controversial because creditors do not have the opportunity to vote against the proposed asset sale - although the swift sale of the assets is necessary to enable the best price to be achieved.

There had been concerns over the future of the stricken firm after its biggest shareholder, Sports Direct, walked away from initial buy-out talks, sparking fears of a lack of interest.

But Sports Direct, which owns 22.5% of Blacks Leisure, is now a forerunner to buy the group out of administration.

Mr Jones, who appears on a panel of wealthy investors on the popular BBC reality show and according to the Sunday Times Rich List is worth around £220 million, is also in the reckoning. He has a business portfolio spanning mobile phones, television, media, leisure and property.

Outdoor specialist Mountain Warehouse and retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill have all been named as potential buyers for the company but are not thought to be among the four remaining interested parties.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there