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Jaeger poised to be placed into administration following sale of debt

Lauretta Roberts
02 April 2017

Jaeger is reported to be on the brink of administration following the sale of its debt to an unnamed buyer, which is believed to be Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Its owner Better Capital, which is run by Jon Moulton, confirmed on Friday that it had sold the business' debt for £7m in a deal that represents a loss of £62m for the private equity firm which acquired Jaeger in 2012 for £19.5m.

Despite investing millions in the business, which was founded in London 133 years ago, Better Capital could not turn it around and last year it posted a loss of £5.4m on sales of £78.4m.

The Sunday Times reports that the business will now be placed into administration and Edinburgh Woollen Mill will buy it and relaunch it as a concession and online-only brand, which would put its 25-strong store portfolio at risk.

Better Capital had placed the business up for sale last month and among the interested parties was former owner and former chairman of the British Fashion Council Harold Tillman.

He told the Daily Mail yesterday: "I hope and wish for the survival of the brand, on behalf of employees. I had it for eight years, and enjoyed eight years of growth and profit."

Tillman acquired the business in 2003 having bought it from entrepreneur Richard Thompson, who himself had bought it just weeks earlier from Coats PLC for just £1.

Jaeger was founded in 1884 by British businessman Lewis Tomalin. It went on to achieve a Royal Warrant and in 1935 opened its flagship store on London’s Regent Street. It has endured a tumultuous time since it was acquired by Better Capital and in 2015 it announced it was closing its Regent Street store, which is now occupied by US giant Coach.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which is run by billionaire Philip Day, last year acquired another stricken British heritage brand when it bought the brand, some stock and the outlet stores of Austin Reed from administrators Alix Partners, who are also tipped to be handling Jaeger's administration.

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