Former owner in last-ditch attempt to save Woolies

Former Woolworths chief executive Sir Geoff Mulcahy will tomorrow talk to Ardeshir Naghshineh, Woolworths' biggest shareholder before the company collapsed, over a possible 11th-hour rescue plan, which is scheduled to shut its doors for the final time in less than three weeks.

Sir Geoff, who launched a fierce broadside last week against Deloitte, the administrator, describing its handling of the process as "disgraceful", will meet with Mr Naghshineh, the property entrepreneur who owns the Centrepoint building in the West End.

A source close to the pair said: "The reality is that most people are keen to keep Woolies alive, no matter how improbable it seems at the moment. The chances of anything happening remain slim but it's worth a shot."

It is thought that Mr Naghshineh has been in discussion with the office of Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to secure bailout funding for Woolworths. Conversations with banks about possible financing are also continuing.

Deloitte said last Thursday that all of Woolworths' 807 stores would cease trading by 5 January, with the loss of more than 27,000 jobs.

Some 207 stores were scheduled to close this weekend and a further 200 will shut on 30 December, another 200 on 2 January and the remaining 200 on 5 January, when the doors will close on the 99-year-old company for the last time.

Sir Geoff, who led a consortium buyout of Woolworths in 1982, said last week: "The whole thing is disgraceful. There are a lot of losers in the situation. The whole administrative process needs to be looked at as there are two businesses here that could have been made profitable."

Rumours have suggested that Deloitte, whose effort is being led by partner Neville Khan, could pocket as much as £40m from the administration, depending on the way in which it has been structured.

Deloitte has devoted 100 staff to Woolies, with some estimates suggesting that the firm could charge as much as £22,000 an hour. Mr Khan said that 500 former suppliers to Woolworths and EUK, its distribution arm, had made claims for money from the administrators.

Sources close to the administration process have suggested that the company's biggest creditor, Burdale, a subsidiary of the Bank of Ireland that, with GMAC, lent Woolworths £385m in January, had been listening to offers of 70p in the pound on its portion of the debt. A spokesman for Burdale declined to comment.

The administrator said last week it was in advanced talks to sell 300 of the company's sites, adding that there had been interest in the other 500.

The food retailer Iceland, led by Malcolm Walker, the man who tabled a £50m bid to buy Woolworths last August but was rebuffed by chairman Richard North, has agreed terms on 50 of the Woolworths stores.

Interest for the sites has also come from Asia, Africa and the Americas, Mr Khan said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
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

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomber...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game