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Wilko: Fresh rescue bid emerges for the flailing retail chain after it collapsed into administration

A general view of the Wythenshawe branch of Wilko on August 04, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The privately-owned company has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators after it failed to find emergency investment.
A general view of the Wythenshawe branch of Wilko on August 04, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The privately-owned company has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators after it failed to find emergency investment.

There may be hope for Wilko yet after a new rescue bid for the struggling retail chain emerged. Wilko collapsed into administration earlier this month, putting more than 12,000 jobs and 400 stores across the UK at risk.

Wilko, a well known staple in the high street thanks to its affordable everyday and homeware items, has been grappling with losses since the the pandemic. Despite the cost of living crisis prompting shoppers to seek out more bargains, it has also fallen behind its rivals such as Home Bargains, B&M and Poundland.

But now private equity firm M2 Capital has made a £90m bid for the company, pledging to retain all its employees’ roles for two years. According to the Guardian, the bid by M2 is one of several offers that are currently being considered by administrators.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Wilko’s administrators, set a deadline of Friday last week (August 18) for bids. it is understood they are reviewing all the offers they received over the weekend.

M2 managing director Robert Mantse told BBC News that if the firm’s rescue bid was accepted, M2 would “guarantee all employees’ jobs for two years”. GMB union, Andy Prendergast, responded to thenews saying:“The devil is always in the detail, any bid that guarantees jobs has to be prioritised”.

Canadian businessman Dough Putman, owner of HMV, is also interested in saving the business and keeping the majority of the chain’s stores open, it was revealed last week. A spokesperson for PwC said talks were “continuing with a number of parties”.

They added: “As administrators we’re intent on achieving the best outcome for everyone involved while preserving as many jobs as possible and adhering to our statutory duty to act in the best interests of the creditors as a whole. It would be inappropriate to comment on individual bidders or interested parties at this stage in the process.”