// Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group hits out after being “frozen out” of the auction of 3 Edinburgh Woollen Mill brands
// 2 of the 4 brands in Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s stable of high street chains fell into administration on Friday
// Administrators from FRP Advisory confirmed that 56 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores have now permanently shut
Mike Ashley has reportedly expressed his anger after his company Frasers Group was excluded from the auction of three Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group brands.
Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, expressed interest in the Jaeger, Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill fascias – part of Philip Day’s retail empire – which have been put up for sale.
Two of the four brands in Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s stable of high street chains – Ponden Homes and Edinburgh Woollen Mill – fell into administration on Friday, with 866 jobs gone and a further 1821 jobs under threat.
- 866 job cuts as Edinburgh Woollen Mill & Ponden Home stores fall into administration
- Mike Ashley eyes rival Philip Day’s Jaeger brand
Administrators from FRP Advisory confirmed that 56 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores have now permanently closed along with eight Ponden Home shops.
The remaining 328 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and 65 Ponden Home stores will continue to trade, while a buyer is sought.
Insolvency consultants at FRP Advisory, who have been looking for suitors to save some of the brands, “have been unhelpful throughout the process, either refusing to provide or providing very slowly the normal information a buyer would expect”, according to Frasers Group.
Ashley’s retail firm was in talks with advisers from October 26 onwards, The Telegraph reported.
Moreover, Frasers Group said the advisers made “no real attempt to engage with us as a committed and willing purchaser”.
“After much pressing we were drip-fed information, but key items were withheld,” it said.
However, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group responded that all bidders for Peacocks and Jaeger have had “access to the same information and ample opportunity to make an offer”.
The sale process for Peacocks is codenamed Project Centaur; Edinburgh Woollen Mill was codenamed Project Castle.
A charge was registered against the group in March and August this year, which makes Day a secured lender.
He is first in the queue of creditors to recover debts.