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Peacocks collapses into administration

Debt-laden value clothing retailer Peacocks has hit the buffers after a last ditch attempt by chief executive Richard Kirk to save the business was derailed.

The administration of Peacocks, which is saddled with around £240m worth of debt, puts 9,300 jobs on the line.

KPMG has been appointed administrator. Drapers understands Peacocks is now likely to attract renewed interest from potential buyers due to its large debt pile being wiped out.

Kirk, backed by a secret investor, attempted to negotiate a deal with the company’s 17 creditors in a meeting this morning.  However it is understood the anonymous backer pulled out of talks, derailing the negotiations.

It is understood Kirk is unlikely to mount another bid for the chain.

Meanwhile private equity firm Sun European is expected to rescue Peacocks’ sister chain Bonmarche. However, the deal is likely to result in the closure of up to half the 397-store portfolio, Drapers revealed today.

Restructuring specialist GA Europe is understood to be assisting Sun European on the deal, although the details of the relationship are not clear.

Peacocks’ administration has moved quickly following a collapse in talks last week when one of its key creditors, RBS, walked away.

On Monday notices of intent to appoint administrators were issued for both Peacocks and Bonmarche, while on Tuesday it emerged that Kirk was spearheading negotiations with a still-unnamed backer.

Richard Fleming, joint administrator and UK Head of Restructuring at KPMG, said:

“We are actively seeking a buyer for the 611 stores and 49 concessions and encourage interested parties to get in touch.”

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