Debenhams fails to attract ‘acceptable’ bids for sale of business

Mark Johnson's picture

A sale process aimed at finding a suitable buyer for high street retail brand Debenhams has ended with no suitable bids being accepted.

This means the company will remain in the hands of its creditors, Celine UK NewCo 1 Ltd.

In a stock market statement, the company confirmed that the marketing process undertaken as a condition following the administration of Debenhams plc, had completed. 

“The administrators of Debenhams plc considered the bids received during the marketing process and determined that these were not at the level required to be taken forward and therefore the ownership of the Debenhams Group remains with Celine”, the statement read.

Turnaround attempt

Stefaan Vansteenkiste, CRO, representing Celine, said the investor group now in charge would attempt to turn the business around.

"The investor consortium is a committed long-term owner, which has provided Debenhams with £200 million in fresh funding for the financial restructuring process and to fund the company's operating turnaround. 

“Within the consortium, there is extensive turnaround experience, which we will deploy to support the management's plan and to position Debenhams for a long-term successful future."

Terry Duddy, Executive Chairman of Debenhams, said: "I am pleased that our new owners have confirmed their commitment to Debenhams and remain supportive of our plans to restructure the business. We are confident that we will receive support for our CVA proposals, which make sense for all parties, and will give us the platform to deliver a turnaround."

Sports Direct founder and owner of Newcastle football club, Mike Ashley, is a large shareholder in Debenhams, and has made various attempts to gain a seat on the company’s board and start at takeover bid for Debenhams. However, his efforts have so far been rejected by other major stakeholders in the ailing retailer. 

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