Just 48 hours after putting in a surprise bid for collapsed cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, retail tycoon Mike Ashley has withdrawn it, saying his Sports Direct group was placed “at a serious disadvantage as a bidder”.
Sports Direct announced on Friday evening that it had placed a bid for the chain, which has been placed into administration with KPMG. But today the Financial Times has reported that Ashley was told his £15m bid for the Patisserie Holdings group was not high enough.
Ashley is reported to have complained that his team was not given sufficient information to increase its offer saying it had not been granted “access to a data room, any financial information or meetings with management”.
It is the second time already this year that Ashley has been frustrated in his aim to further enlarge his high street empire, having lost out to Canadian group Sunrise Records in the race to buy music retailer HMV.
However he remains, arguably the most powerful player on the high street. As well as his flagship sports chain and various sports brands sold in it, Ashley owns luxury chain Flannels, House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and Sofa.com (his most recent acquisition). He also holds a near 30% stake in both Debenhams and French Connection.
Costa Coffee and Leon are both said to be among the interested parties to buy all or part of Patisserie Valerie, which collapsed after a £40m black hole was found in its accounts. KPMG has since closed 71 of its almost 200 outlets and concessions.