Wilko: Specialist investor weighs up rescue bid for struggling firm

Wilko store front
Wilko has confirmed it is filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators
Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 05/08/2023

- 14:48

Updated: 27/08/2023

- 15:23

The firm, who rescued Laura Ashley from collapse in 2020, are in talks with the retailer

Wilko, who is currently on the brink of collapse, could be saved by a potential rescue bid from a specialist investor.

Gordon Brothers, which specialises in struggling retailers, are in talks with Wilko's advisers about a possible deal.

They previously supported Laura Ashley, a womenswear and homeware shop, from collapse in 2020.

Sources have said that investors could providing funding to Wilko to keep it afloat.

Wilko, Kings Mall, Hammersmith 02Wilko, Kings Mall, Hammersmith 02Wikimedia Commons Licences

However if the deal went ahead, then it would involve a large number of store closures and job losses.

Yet an insider source said that the chances of the deal being made were "relatively low".

Other turnaround investors, Alteri and Opcapita, who have also been considering aiding the failing retailer, are now also deemed unlikely to assist the chain.

Wilko, who is being advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), are understood to be looking to secure any binding offers as soon as possible.

It is believed that the company is close to running out of cash in weeks.

PwC, if appointed as administrators, will run a further sale process before beginning a liquidation of Wilko's assets, if no deals are looking likely.

Hilco, the owner of Homebase, lent Wilko £40million earlier this year to help try and salvage the company's future. The firm recently amended the terms of their agreement to continue to help the struggling chain.

This news comes as the bargain retailer announced its plans to file its “notice of intention” to the High Court, last Thursday (August 3).

A notice of intention protects businesses from creditors for 10 days in an attempt for the company to secure its finances.

The notice, handed to the High Court today, does not necessarily mean administrators will be appointed.

Busy high street with people walking along itWilko has 408 stores across the UK and employs 12,000 people PA

This decision has put 400 shops and 12,000 jobs at risk.

Over the past year, Wilko has shut down 14 different stores across the UK.

The stores that have been recently shut down are Bournemouth, Stockton, The Fort Birmingham, Shipley, Scunthorpe, Narborough Road in Leicester, Grantham, Redditch, Rotherham, Skegness, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil, Cleethorpes and Woolwich.

Wilko's CEO said that the business would continue to hold discussions with interested parties and would aim to secure its future “as fast as possible”.

He added: "We continue to believe that our robust turnaround plan, with significant re-stabilisation cost savings in progress, will deliver a profitable Wilko and maximise the significant opportunities that we know exist."

A Wilko spokesperson told GB News: "There are no immediate store closures planned as a result of the announcement, and the business continues to trade as usual during this period."

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