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Frasers Group claims it is being "frozen out" of Jaeger sale process

Lauretta Roberts
09 November 2020

Frasers Group has claimed it is being "frozen out" of the process to acquire the heritage fashion brands, including Jaeger and Austin Reed, from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM).

Philip Day's EWM Group announced the administration of its namesake brand on Friday and is said to be in negotiations with New York hedge fund Davidson Kemper to rescue its value fashion chain Peacocks, which also own Bonmarche, allowing Day to retain ownership.

Its heritage fashion brands, Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert, are being marketed in a separate sale process and Mike Ashley's Frasers is among the interested parties to buy them. It has also been suggested that Day wants to try to retain ownership of Jaeger, as well as Peacocks.

Frasers claims that FRP Advisory, which is working on behalf of EWM, has been "unhelpful" throughout the process and has not provided sufficient information to Frasers for it to make its bid, an insider told The Telegraph.

EWM announced its intention to appoint administrators on 9 October and a number of interested parties, including the former owner of Jaeger Harold Tillman, are said to have come forward to express their interest in buying its brands. Frasers is understood to have lodged its interest on 26 October.

A source close to EWM said that Frasers had been provided with sufficient information but had not been prepared to meet the asking price for the brands and that it had made its interest known only at the "11th hour".

All the bidders for Peacocks and Jaeger have had access to the same information and ample opportunity to make an offer since we want to secure the best possible future for both these businesses," an official company statement said.

Last week Frasers walked away from the race to buy struggling department store chain Debenhams, having also claimed to have been blocked from receiving sufficient information. Debenhams' advisers are said to want at least £300m for the chain but Frasers claimed the information supplied would make it impossible for any bidder to make an offer of that amount.

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