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Wilko redundancies ‘on hold’ following new takeover bids

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Redundancies at Wilko are now on hold as administrators weigh up a reported second bid to rescue the retailer.

Private equity firm M2 Capital has made a £90m offer for Wilko, according to The Guardian, and it is believed the business is committed to keeping on all employees’ jobs for two years.

This development follows rumoured interest in a takeover by Canadian businessman Doug Putman last week. In 2019, he took over HMV from the brink of liquidation and turned the music retailer into a profitable company.

Since Wilko went into administration in early August, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has dealt with any potential takeovers for the company which currently has 12,500 workers and over 400 stores.

Following last Friday’s deadline for bid, PwC explained “talks are continuing with a number of parties” as they work “relentlessly” to find a buyer.

Timing of deadline quizzed by new bidders

However, with the deadline falling ahead of the national bank holiday, new bidder M2 Capital reportedly questioned whether the bidding process was “fair and transparent” as it had to provide details about its offer while most businesses shut down for the long weekend.

While the future of Wilko may be looking slightly brighter, a leading figure from the GMB Union, which represents over 3,000 of its staff, remained coy.

The GMB’s national secretary, Andy Prendergast told PA Media: “There appears to be a glimmer of hope but there is still a long way to go.

“We don’t want to get carried away as our members deserve certainty, but we are hopeful that jobs can be protected. The devil is in the detail but any bid that guarantees jobs must be prioritised.”

He added: “Losing Wilko will not only put 12,500 out of work across the country but would also be another nail in the coffin of the high street.

“PwC must recognise that creditors are not the only people with a stake on this — working people’s livelihoods must be the priority.”