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Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct in last-minute rescue of House of Fraser

Mike Ashley, one among Britain’s most vibrant entrepreneurs, has sprung to the rescue of the 169 year-old Home of Fraser division retailer chain, simply hours after it collapsed into administration.

Ashley, who controls sportswear retailer Sports activities Direct stumped up £90 million in a money deal for all the Home of Fraser 56 excessive avenue shops.

The information got here hours after Home of Fraser mentioned it was calling in directors after discussions between traders and collectors failed to supply a “solvent answer.” The choice put 17,000 jobs in danger.

Considered one of Britain’s best-known excessive avenue names, Home of Fraser has struggled within the period of low cost shops and on-line purchasing.

Its most up-to-date disaster started when C.banner, the Chinese language proprietor of Hamleys toy retailer, pulled its funding. It had been planning to purchase a 51 p.c stake and pump £70 million into the chain, however pulled out final week.

Home of Fraser’s retailer closures comply with a wave of shocks to the British retail business. Giants like Toys R Us and Maplin shut this year, DIY store Homebase offered for a mere 1 pound this month, and in April grocery store chain Marks and Spencer revealed plans to shut 100 outlets by 2022.

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley, founding father of sportswear retailer Sports activities Direct provides proof to the enterprise, expertise and innovation parliamentary choose committee in Westminster, London, Britain, June 6, 2016. Parliament TV/Handout by way of REUTERS
Parliament TV/Handout by way of REUTERS

Mike Ashley – retail king

From enterprise to soccer, Mike Ashley has attracted consideration and controversy like a magnet for the final three many years. The Sports activities Direct founder has gone from proudly owning a small sport store within the House Counties to develop into a billionaire and one among Britain’s most recognisable businessmen, but he continues to eschew publicity and interviews.

Sports Direct made its debut on the London Stock Exchange in 2007, when Ashley offered a 45% stake within the firm on the inventory market and raised over £900m within the course of. Issues quickly turned bitter for the tycoon, who described shareholders as “cry infants” in an interview with the Sunday Instances, after Sports activities Direct shares misplaced half their worth quickly after the flotation.

Zero-hours controversy

Earlier in 2016, Sports activities Direct was heavily criticised for the treatment of its staff and for the working situations it supplied.

A report into the corporate’s operations launched in July concluded Ashley had constructed his success on a enterprise mannequin that treats staff “with out dignity or respect”.

It mentioned working situations for his employees had been much like these of a Victorian workhouse, and heard quite a few accounts of employee mistreatment, together with employees being penalised for taking breaks and guarantees of everlasting contracts in trade for sexual favours.

Private life

For a person who has made a behavior of being on the centre of consideration, surprisingly little is understood of Ashley’s private life. The Sports activities Direct discovered married Swedish-born economics graduate Linda Jerlmyr, from whom he has three children, Matilda, Anna and Oliver, in 1998 however the couple divorced 5 years later.

The settlement is although to have been extraordinarily expensive for Ashley, who was reportedly pressured handy over the household residence, property and property with complete value of £50m. Not often one to be dressed formally, the 52-year-old, who was a county degree squash participant in his youth earlier than damage curtailed his profession, is understood to want chinos and shirts to fits and ties.

Ashley bought his North London residence for £12m in 2005 and commutes by helicopter.

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