Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

Thousands of jobs could be saved as deal to rescue Wilko being ‘finalised’ 

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

More than 8,000 jobs could be salvaged as part of a new reported rescue package to save Wilko.

The HMV owner Doug Putman emerged as the leading bidder on Thursday to take over the stricken budget chain retailer and, according to Sky News, the deal is being “finalised”.

It claims one creditor told the network: “It’s still in the balance but it is beginning to look more positive that a deal can get done.”

Another source ‘with financial exposure to Wilko’ believed the Canadian billionaire wishes to take on more than 300 of its 400 stores, which equates to between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs being saved out of a total of 12,500 employees.

PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) is the appointed administrator in charge of facilitating a takeover for the family-run business, and insisted last week everyone is “working tirelessly” to ensure a takeover is successful.

Despite the hope of a new agreement, the administrators had to inform staff on Thursday about 283 redundancies taking place on 4 September.

Jane Steer, the joint administrator, said: “We will continue to do all that we can to support staff through this period of difficult upheaval, and to maximise their opportunities for a rapid return to work.”

First Wilko redundancies confirmed for Monday

Following the redundancy announcement on Thursday, the GMB, who represent around 4,000 workers updated members on the current state of play.

The union added said: “For staff in stores and online, PWC are continuing to assess bids and we remain hopeful that there is one from a viable buyer on the table.

“However, at this stage we cannot in any way guarantee this and must therefore continue to prepare for the worst.”

There was last-minute interest in a deal to purchase Wilko, in its entirety, from private equity firm M2 Capital, but negotiations over the £90m bid ended.

The union told its members that the bidder “failed to provide the necessary evidence to show that they had the finances necessary to purchase the company despite being given numerous opportunities to do so”.