Edinburgh Woollen Mill in shock Jane Norman bid

Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) is a surprise bidder for troubled women’s fashion chain Jane Norman, which is likely to be sold over the next 72 hours.

The Scottish clothing group, which has more than 500 stores, is among the front runners, along with Debenhams, which houses Jane Norman concessions in its department stores.

A consortium of 15 banks hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to run a process to sell Jane Norman this month after a troubled few years for the chain.

The private equity firm Sun Capital Partners is also believed to still be interested in acquiring Jane Norman.

The purchase price for the stricken chain – which has 90 standalone stores and a similar number of concessions, largely in Debenhams – is likely to be low, if not a nominal one. This is because Jane Norman has debts of £140m, on sales at a similar level.

The fact that EWM is in advanced talks to acquire the women’s chain is somewhat of a surprise, as it targets 45-plus men and women with its knitwear, fleeces and shirts. Jane Norman’s typical customer is aged 16 to 25.

But the Dumfriesshire-based group has a track record in acquiring and integrating troubled retailers.

In early 2008, it bought the assets of soft furnishing chain Ponden Mill, including 43 stores, and then later that year acquired 77 from the former

Rosebys stores. It rebranded these two chains as Ponden Home with 150 stores. EWM also bought Proquip, the golfing waterproof clothing specialist.

The Scottish group – which delivered pre-tax profits of £22.5m in the year to 27 February 2010 – would seek to keep Jane Norman’s presence on the high street.

Debenhams has only bid for Jane Norman’s brand and stock and not its standalone shops. While it has offered to buy some of Jane Norman’s stock – at a sizeable discount – in its high street shops, Debenhams’ core focus is the fashion chain’s profitable concessions in stores.

The retail stalwart has the benefit of a change-of-ownership clause in its contract, which means it could terminate Jane Norman’s concession agreement if the business is sold to a third party.

Sun Capital owns V&D, a Dutch department-store that houses some Jane Norman concessions.

All the parties mentioned declined to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back