Links of London scrambles to find buyer by next week

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Links of London's owner Folli Follie scrambles to find buyer by next week
There's been speculation that Links of London is in turmoil after it drafted Deloitte to assess the business
// Jewellery retailer Links of London‎ races to find buyer within days
// Its owner, scandal-hit Folli Follie, has reportedly asked bidders to finalise offers by next week
// Links of London has already shut down its US stores and 16 UK stores
// Folli Follie was recently found to have overstated its 2017 revenue by more than €1bn

Links of London is reportedly scrambling to find a new owner as its scandal-hit parent company seeks to sell the jewellery retailer.

According to Sky News, Athens-based retailer Folli Follie has asked potential suitors to finalise their bids for Links of London by next week.

There has been speculation that Links of London was in turmoil after it hired advisers from Deloitte to assess the business.

Sources speaking to Sky News said it was “almost inevitable” that Links of London would be sold in the form of a pre-pack administration deal.

They also said a post-transaction restructuring could be required as an alternative.

Links of London has already cut back on marketing and other central costs, as well as shut down its US stores and 16 UK stores.

Prior to this, the retailer operated from more than 300 locations – most of which are concessions.

Links of London’s most recent accounts from 2017 show a pre-tax loss of £20.6 million amid sales of £42.9 million.

It comes as Folli Follie was recently found to have overstated its 2017 revenue by more than €1 billion, according to an audit from PwC.

This followed the €20.3 million fine from Greece’s securities regulator earlier this year for misrepresenting sales in 2016.

Folli Follie’s shares on the Athens Stock Exchange have since been suspended and founder Dimitris Koutsolioutsos has resigned.

When it presented a new rescue proposal last month, Folli Follie said the PwC audit concluded that its 2017 earnings was actually €359.2 million, as opposed to the previusly-reported €1.4 billion.

It also revealed a net loss of €136.2 million versus the net profit of €216.8 million originally reported.

Folli Follie added that despite the restated figures, the company’s net asset value remained positive.

However, it a debt of around €430 million which is due this year and in 2021.

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