Jack Wills lenders call in advisers to assess financial position

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Jack Wills lenders
// Lenders draft in advisers from EY to assess financial position of Jack Wills
// Follows news that Jack Wills received a £20m cash injection from new & existing shareholders
// Advisers called in amid speculation Jack Wills could receive another cash injection

Jack Wills lenders have reportedly called in advisers to assess the fashion retailer’s financial position, just weeks after the business received new financing from investors.

According to Sky News, the lenders – led by HSBC – hired advisers from auditing firm EY amid speculation Jack Wills may require another cash injection within months.

Sources told Sky News that EY will help negotiate revisions to Jack Wills’ borrowing covenants and examine the retailer’s wider ongoing financing requirements.

Jack Wills has not provided a comment.

The news comes several weeks after Jack Wills reportedly received a £10 million cash injection from a wealthy Italian family office which is an investor in the retailer’s majority shareholder, BlueGem Capital Partners.

BlueGem has also reportedly provided a similar cash injection of £10 million for the preppy fashion retailer.

The identity of the Italian backer remains unclear, although it is expected to be made public once details of the recapitalisation are filed at Companies House.

The mysterious investor reportedly stepped in after the withdrawal from talks of Searchlight Capital Partners, the private equity group that owns Hunter.

The news comes after a turbulent year in Jack Wills’ boardroom, with speculation that a bitter row with BlueGem saw Peter Williams ousted 20 years after he co-founded the retailer.

Former Debenhams executive Suzanne Harlow has since taken over as chief executive, while retail veteran Rob Templeman was hired to advise Jack Wills on a turnaround plan.

Jack Wills has also been hit by the weakness of the pound, although it has formed an alternative sourcing plan that will lead to cheaper production.

Williams opened the first Jack Wills store alongside friend Rob Shaw in 1999, before resigning in 2013.

He then returned in 2015 after his replacement, Wendy Becker, left the business amid faltering sales and profits.

Jack Wills continues to trade from more than 90 stores.

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