Frasers Group – owned by Mike Ashley – has confirmed it is in rescue talks for collapsed department store Debenhams.
The retailer said in a stock market statement that it was “in negotiations with the administrators of Debenhams’ UK business” on a possible deal.
Last week Debenhams confirmed that a liquidation process had started, putting 12,000 jobs at risk, after JD Sports pulled out of a rescue deal.
It followed news that Topshop owner Arcadia was going into administration, in one of the worst weeks on the UK high street.
Debenhams said it would keep trading through its 124 UK stores and online in a bid to clear stock.
It said its UK operations would close if there were no alternative offers for the business.
In a statement today, Frasers Group said: “The Company confirms that it is in negotiations with the administrators of Debenhams’ UK business regarding a potential rescue transaction for Debenhams’ UK operations.
“Whilst Frasers Group hopes that a rescue package can be put in place and jobs saved, time is short and the position is further complicated by the recent administration of the Arcadia Group, Debenhams’ biggest concession holder.
“There is no certainty that any transaction will take place, particularly if discussions cannot be concluded swiftly.”
Finance director Chris Wootton has reportedly said that under the deal, Frasers would “hope to be able to save as many jobs as possible”.