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House of Fraser calls in administrators

House of Fraser has called in administrators after last-ditch talks with investors and creditors failed.
The fate of 17,500 staff members who work for HoF and the concessions in its stores hangs in the balance.
Sky's City editor Mark Kleinman was first to reveal administrators were to be appointed today after talks with three potential backers failed to find a solution to save the 169-year-old department store chain.In a statement to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, where the company's bonds are listed, HoF said it the administrator Ernst & Young would continue those talks and a sale of the retailer's business and assets.The administrator plans to keep the business trading, including all stores and offices, while they seek to complete a sale. All stores will be open for business as usual today, the company said.Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser, said: "We are hopeful that the current negotiations will shortly be concluded.""An acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength.Billionaire tycoons Mike Ashley and Philip Day, and the retail turnaround fund Alteri Investors, submitted "best and final" offers to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is advising HoF's lenders and bondholders, on Thursday.
The tussle over the fate of one of the UK's best-known retailers follows a frantic scramble for cash following the decision of Hamley's Chinese owner, C.banner International, to abandon a €70m rescue package for HoF last week.Without €40m of new funding by 20 August to pay concession operators, HoF would be unable to survive, with further money required to meet the chain's €5m-a-month rent bill.So far this year, Maplin, Poundworld and Toys R Us UK have all fallen into administration, triggering about 10,000 job losses.Numerous other chains have launched Company Voluntary Arrangement mechanisms to raise hopes of their survival, but at the cost of thousands more jobs.
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HoF's collapse would dwarf those of its rivals.More follows...
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