United Kingdom retailer Debenhams goes into pre-pack administration

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Professor John Colley, of Warwick Business School, said:"Clearly the bond holders and lenders would much prefer a receivership rather than Mike Ashley in control".

Debenhams had a market value of more than £300m less than a year ago.

Earlier in the day, Mr Ashley's Sports Direct had made a revised £200 million rescue offer for Debenhams, delaying the department store's administration.

Under new ownership, Debenhams will have access to £200m in emergency funding.

Chairman Terry Duddy said it was "disappointing" that existing shareholders would be wiped out by the process.

We remain focused on protecting as many stores and jobs as possible, consistent with establishing a sustainable store portfolio in line with our previous guidance.

The pre-pack administration undertaken by the struggling department store chain will see its debt reduced and comes ahead of a wider restructuring which will see around 50 stores.

As late as Tuesday morning he renewed his bid to do so, but this further offer was rejected.

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"In the meantime, our customers, colleagues, pension holders, suppliers and landlords can be reassured that Debenhams will now be able to move forward on a stable footing".

A letter to shareholders read that Simon Kirkhope and Andrew Johnson had been appointed joint administrators of Debenhams. "I would like to thank them all for their recent and continuing support".

The company which operates 11 stores in Ireland says staff are unaffected for now, according to reports in the Irish Times.

"We are in the process of writing to all members with further information and we will continue to keep them informed".

Debenhams' new owners have put the chain up for sale, so Ashley could still play a role but he would likely need to take on large parts of the retailers' debt, Khalaf said.

George Charles from money saving website www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk, said: "The high street today has taken a massive hit in Debenhams going into administration.

Those close to the retailer's plans emphasising this morning that all stores would be expected to be open through Christmas 2019." whereas the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire takes a different view, stating "Debenhams on brink of collapse".

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