Rebecca Feng, who runs LK Bennett’s Chinese franchises, is the current frontrunner to buy the premium womenswear retailer out of administration, after founder Linda Bennett dropped out of the bidding war earlier this week, Drapers can reveal.
Feng tabled an offer for LK Bennett last month under the newly incorporated company Byland UK.
Drapers understands that she is currently the highest bidder for the business.
It comes after Bennett is understood to have dropped out of the bidding process on 2 April.
The deal is expected to be finalised at the start of next week.
Administrators EY and LK Bennett declined to comment.
A source close to the situation told Drapers: “Linda was the highest bidder, but she dropped out earlier on in the week.
“Now Rebecca Feng is currently the highest bidder. The Dune Group is in second place, but by a long way off. Mike Ashley is still in the mix, but I don’t think his is a serious bid.
“Unless anyone steps in and makes a significantly higher bid by early next week, then Rebecca will close the deal.”
LK Bennett appointed Dan Hurd, Hunter Kelly and Craig Lewis of EY as joint administrators of its UK business on 7 March. This will lead to the closure of five stores: Meadowhall in Sheffield, Bristol, Liverpool, and Brent Cross and Westbourne Grove in London, and up to 55 redundancies.
The company employs 480 staff in the UK across 39 stores, 37 concessions and its London head office.
In its most recent results, for the year to 31 July 2017, LK Bennett had an operating loss of £5.9m.
Sports Direct and the Dune Group have been contacted for comment.