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Sports Direct buys troubled House of Fraser for £90m

It comes just hours after the company announced it had appointed administrators.

Sports Direct has bought troubled department store chain House of Fraser for £90m.

The announcement came just hours after the company, which has four branches in Scotland, appointed administrators.

Store openings in Glasgow and Edinburgh were delayed until 11am while the news was delivered to staff.

One branch in the capital, at the west end of Princes Street, has already been earmarked for closure.

New owner Mike Ashley said he would try to keep as many stores open as possible.

He added: "My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the high street."

House of Fraser, which reported a net profit of £14.7m in its latest accounts, employs 17,500 people across its 59 UK stores.

Gates remained closed at Jenners as the store opening was delayed.
Gates remained closed at Jenners as the store opening was delayed. STV

Ashley previously held an 11% stake in House of Fraser and the buyout comes after a break-down in talks with Chinese buyer C.Banner.

The Newcastle United owner added: "This is a massive step forward and further enhances our strategy of elevation across the group.

"This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector. 

"It is vital that we restore the right level of ongoing relationships with the luxury brands. Our deal was conservative, consistent and simple."

https://stv.tv/news/features/1426687-frasers-history-of-high-street-giant-founded-in-glasgow/ | default

Earlier on Friday, House of Fraser chairman Frank Slevin said: "This has been an extraordinarily challenging six months, in which the business has delivered so many critical elements of its turnaround plan."

"I am confident House of Fraser is close to securing its future," he added.

C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled out of talks last week with Cenbest, the majority owner of the chain.

Customers queued to get into House of Fraser in Glasgow on Friday morning.
Customers queued to get into House of Fraser in Glasgow on Friday morning. STV

It had planned to buy 51% of Cenbest's 89% stake in House of Fraser and plough £70m into the retailer.

Alan Hudson from administrators EY - formerly Ernst and Young - said: "We have worked very closely with management, its advisors and creditors in recent weeks and are pleased that we have been able to successfully conclude a sale of the business in short timescales which preserves as many of the jobs of House of Frasers employees as possible."

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