What a Sports Direct takeover would mean for Jack Wills

Jack Wills could enter administration if the expected Sports Direct takeover goes ahead. Photo: Arch

Jack Wills could enter administration if the expected Sports Direct takeover goes ahead. Photo: Archant/PA. - Credit: Archant

Struggling fashion brand Jack Wills is expected to fall into administration if Sports Direct’s expected takeover proves successful.

Billionaire Mike Ashley is battling it out with fellow retail tycoon Philip Day to acquire the high street brand.

As the bidding process enters its final hours it is understood Mr Day's Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has put in a bid which would seek to avoid a pre-pack administration.

MORE: What is going to happen to Ipswich's easyHotel?However, weekend reports suggest Mr Ashley's Sports Direct is now the favourite to win the race for the preppy clothing store.

His takeover would involve a pre-pack administration - a type of insolvency in which Jack Wills would be placed into administration and then immediately sold on debt-free.

According to the Press Association, Mr Day hopes to buy the company's debt and has committed to not considering any restructuring for the first month of ownership.

One source said: "EWM Group is worried that KPMG are going to stick it into administration, when they've told them pretty specifically that it doesn't need to go into administration."

If successful Mr Day is also expected to install either himself or an ally as executive chairman and provide a £12 million working capital fund to cover the chain's near-term costs.

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The showdown between Mr Day and Mr Ashley comes almost exactly a year after the two were front-runners to buy department store House of Fraser, in a process which ended in Sports Direct acquiring the company in a pre-pack administration.

Since then both men have acquired chunks of the high street, with Sports Direct picking up Sofa.com and Evans Cycles, while Mr Day's vehicle Spectre recently took over women's fashion chain Bonmarche.

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