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Sports Direct owner rescues House of Fraser

bigstock--140107664British billionaire Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has rescued House of Fraser, after the department store chain failed to come to an agreement with creditors and appointed administrators on Friday.

The sporting goods retailer paid 90 million pounds ($157.8 million) for House of Fraser’s stores, brand and all its stock.

In June, the struggling retailer announced a plan to close 31 of its 59 bricks-and-mortar stores, including its London flagship, in a last-ditch effort to stay afloat. That plan has now been abandoned.

According to Reuters, Ashley said he would do his best to keep as many stores open as possible, but made no mention of his plans for House of Fraser’s workforce of more than 5900 direct employees and 10,100 employees who work for concession partners.

Administrators said the acquisition would preserve as many jobs as possible.

Ashley reportedly said his plan is to turn the chain into the “Harrods of the high street”. He has previously said he wants to turn Sports Direct into the “Selfridges of sport”.

Myer CEO John King spent eight years at the helm of House of Fraser. He left the company in 2015 shortly after it was acquired by China’s Sanpower Group, the controlling stakeholder of Nanjing Cenbest, which owned 89 per cent of House of Fraser prior to administration.

Sports Direct owned the remaining 11 per cent.

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