Billionaire tycoon Philip Day mulls rescue bid for House of Fraser

HAUNTED HOUSE: The company is carrying hundreds of millions of pounds of debt.

PHILIP Day, billionaire owner of high Street brands Jaeger and Peacocks, is considering a bid to save House of Fraser (HoF).

The retail tycoon, who owns Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, has been named as a potential investor by House of Fraser in a statement it made yesterday (Wednesday).

Exploring alternative investors has become a matter of urgency since the collapse of a €79 million deal involving the Chinese owner of Hamleys, C.banner.

Mr Day has a history of shrewd takeovers and has built one of Britain’s largest retail empires, but ailing HoF needs the funds this month to prevent its collapse into administration.

However, the details of his bid are unclear and it is not certain that he will make a formal offer after carrying out due diligence on the company.

Earlier this week it was revealed that Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct mogul who also owns Newcastle United FC, was in discussions to provide a €56 million secured loan to HoF.

As a result, a bid from Philip Day would spark a takeover battle between to retail billionaires for one of the high street’s oldest and best-loved names.

House of Fraser employs more than 17,000 people, with 6,000 of those jobs set to be lost if the company survives a legal challenge from a group of landlords.

The department store chain is in dire need of capital to purchase stock ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period, and its lending banks are refusing to assist.

Last year HoF lost nearly €50 million and its collapse would represent the biggest British retail failure for over a decade.

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