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B&M swoops for 50 Wilko stores as HMV owner’s takeover falters

Liverpool-based discount retailer B&M is reportedly set to swoop on Wilko stores as hopes fade of a takeover by HMV owner Doug Putman.

Sky News claims that B&M could announce the acquisition of around 50 Wilko shops today, with the chain’s administrators said to be on the brink of announcing the first closures from its estate.

Putman is reportedly still engaged in talks about reshaping his takeover plans to incorporate around a further 200 stores. The HMV owner is said to have encountered difficulties during talks with Wilko suppliers despite having provisionally secured financing from Gordon Brothers for a deal to acquire about 300 stores and received approval from many of Wilko’s main debtors.

Over 12,000 jobs are at risk at now in-administration Wilko, with workers at the company’s Worksop support depot among almost 300 employees serving out their final day yesterday.

“We will continue to do all that we can to support staff through this period of difficult upheaval, and to maximise their opportunities for a rapid return to work,” Jane Steer, joint administrator, said.

“Our priority is to ensure that all team members affected by redundancy are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect.”

PwC had reportedly been seeking external investment for Wilko for months prior to its formal appointment as administrator.

Wilko was established by Leicester’s Wilkinson family in 1930, and sells homewares and garden furniture at discounted prices. Fellow bargain retailers including Poundland and The Range are reportedly also interested in acquiring at least some of the firm’s prime high street assets, while OnBuy made a bid last week to keep the much-loved brand alive as an ecommerce operation.

https://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/news/onbuy-launches-last-minute-wilko-bid/

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