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Exclusive: Jaeger suppliers’ bid blocked

A bid to buy Jaeger put forward by a group of suppliers has failed because the premium retailer’s trademark has already been sold, Drapers has learned.

The suppliers, who claim to be owed millions of pounds following Jaeger’s demise, submitted a bid last month to buy the entire business and continue to trade it as a going concern. The group is led by César Araújo, owner of Portuguese textile group Calvelex, which has supplied Jaeger for more than 20 years.

However, the approach has been dismissed by Jaeger’s administrator, AlixPartners, as the trademark is no longer available. Drapers understands Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) bought the brand name as well as its debt from Jaeger’s former owner, private equity firm Better Capital, in March.

EWM this week revealed that Jaeger would be one of the brands stocked in its new department store concept, Days Department Store, the first of which will open on 31 May at 2-5 Guildhall Square in Carmarthen, South Wales. It is thought Jaeger will also be traded online. 

“We are very disappointed with this situation,” said Araújo. “We’re questioning the thinking behind selling the intellectual property of the Jaeger brand name before the company went into administration, as the value of the company to potential bidders would be greatly reduced.”

However, Better Capital owner Jon Moulton told Drapers his firm got the best deal available for Jaeger: “We spoke to a number of potential buyers and we did what was best. A deal presented itself where we were offered a sum for the trademark and another sum for the debt. We looked at selling the business altogether but there were no deals on the table at the time.”

Peter Saville, Ryan Grant, and Catherine Williamson of AlixPartners were appointed as joint administrators on 10 April. A week later, Jaeger announced it was closing 20 stores and making 209 redundancies across its head office, distribution centre and store network.

AlixPartners declined to comment. EWM did not respond to requests for a comment.


Readers' comments (2)

  • More mysterious activity to ponder ... Did someone come out ahead here? I don't know, what do you think?

    Araújo is also calling on the government to review the protection offered by insolvency laws as, after a string of retailer collapses, it was becoming increasingly difficult for international suppliers to do business in the UK.

    “A sale of secured debt should have to be disclosed to the creditors generally,” he said. “Many suppliers believe that it is high time the British government urgently undertake a review of the laws relating to UK insolvency to provide a more ethical, moral and level playing field that gives all creditors access to information and the opportunity to have input into the future of companies in administration.”

    Suppose the law did not allow a secured creditor to recover more than they have actually paid - in cash - for debt that they have bought. That could be a rule that lasts only for perhaps 12 months. Asset strippers tend to look only at the short term. That law would stop an asset stripper from making a quick profit by buying debt at a discount, and recovering more than they have paid by enforcing their security.

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  • Definitely stinks. Suppliers get an awful deal and to hear of more than twenty years as a supplier of this brand makes you think they deserve some clarity.

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