Wilko rescue hangs in the balance as potential deal hits major sticking point | The Sun

A RESCUE of the majority of Wilko’s stores by HMV’s owner is in limbo after running into issues with some big suppliers.

Sources said that weekend negotiations between Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman, who bought HMV in 2019, had run into problems.

The twist creates further unwelcome uncertainty for Wilko’s staff who have been worried about their future since the chain collapsed a month ago. 

Sources told The Sun that some big suppliers, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble who supply items such as Domestos Bleach and Ariel detergent to Wilko’s stores, have demanded their debts are repaid and paid upfront to guarantee supply to stores. 

Talks over the weekend also raised concerns that some suppliers, who had cancelled shipments to Wilko’s shops as fears about its future grew, would not be able to ship products for another six weeks.

This could mean that shop shelves are empty and stores would lose money, despite staying open. 

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It is understood that the situation is fluid and a deal may still be struck, but any announcement is unlikely to be today (Monday September 4).

Meanwhile administrators at PwC are still engaged in talks with rival retailers B&M Bargains, Poundland, Home Bargains and The Range who would take on some stores.

Mr Putman’s offer would preserve the majority of Wilko’s 12,500 jobs and 400 stores as he has made an offer for around 300 s and would keep Wilko’s brand name.

Jobs cuts at Wilko’s headquarters and warehouses are already being made this week. 

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Sources expressed frustration that a rescue of Wilko had been delayed by the eleventh-hour intervention by M2 Capital, which has since been accused of time-wasting.

M2 Capital’s involvement descended into farce after its supposed financing backer, entrepreneur Michael Flacks, rubbished claims that he would back a Wilko takeover.

Robert Mantse, the frontman of M2 Capital, was still sending PwC bizarre emails at the weekend despite being kicked out of the process.

In an email to PwC staff, including the firm’s global chairman Bob Moritz, Mr Mantse claims that he has “many other financing options” including a “special friendship” with Colbeck Capital in New York.

The email also includes details of his daughter’s ask for a €12,000 wool coat, a request to follow him on Instagram and an instruction to a PwC partner to “be cool”.

Wilko filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators on August 3, 2023, after struggling for some time to find a buyer.

The company borrowed £40million in 2022 from Hilco as well as cutting jobs and restructuring the leadership of the business.

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have been seeking offers from interested firms in an effort to save jobs and stores.

Founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930, the company’s first store opened on Charnwood Street under the Wilkinson Cash Stores brand.

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In an emotional interview, Lisa Wilkinson, granddaughter of the chain's founder, said that everybody put their "soul and heart" into saving the chain.

Meanwhile, we have put together a full list of retailers offering jobs to devastated Wilko staff.

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