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What the weekend newspapers said (November 22-23)

The best of the fashion business related headlines from the weekend newspapers...

The Sunday Times said that Woolworths was locked in crisis talks with Hilco this weekend about a revised rescue package to save the chain from administration. The newspaper said that Hilco had sweetened its offer to Woolworths' bank lenders on Friday night to assume a greater proportion of the retailer's £385 million debt mountain. Hilco is thought to have offered to take up to £300m of the debt, up from its original offer to buy the business for £1 and assume around £265m of the group's debt. The Sunday Times said that Hilco may still initiate a "pre-pack" administration which would make it easier for the restructuring specialist to offload stores and for Woolworths to re-emerge with a smaller more sustainable chain.

The Sunday Times also reported that JJB Sports had hired investment bank Lazard to find a buyer for its fitness clubs after receiving an offer for the division. The newspaper said the offer, thought to be worth around £100m, was believed to have come from Fitness First.

The Sunday Telegraph said that private equity house Permira had seen the value of its Valentino Fashion Group investment, fall by 15% or £27m to £143.8m.

The Observer said that companies could expect to pay up to 25% more for credit insurance next year as insurers raise premiums to offset the risk of customers going bust. Euler Hermes, the world's biggest credit insurer, said prices would rise between 20% and 25% depending on the sector or country. Euler Hermes said it expected to see a 50% increase in business failures this year, with that number expected to rise by a third in 2009.

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