Jones Bootmaker in notice of administration filing as buyout talks go on
Jones Bootmaker could be on the verge of filing for administration with the venerable UK footwear chain having filed a notice to appoint administrators.
The filing comes after weeks of speculation around the 160-year-old firm’s future. Fashion Network report in late February that an administration filing was a possibility. Now owner Alteri appears to have acted as at least one creditor made moves to wind up the company.
The notice to file for administration would give the company protection from being wound up until later this month with Alteri using the time to continue to seek a buyer. A sale of the business still looks possible with more than one offer believed to be on the table, trade paper Retail Week reported.
No rumours about just who might be interested have emerged and it is also unclear whether any new buyer would be prepared to take on the business with its existing debts or whether a pre-pack deal would be the way forward.
Under such a deal, the company would file for administration and could then be bought minus a chunk of its debt and unencumbered by lossmaking stores. This would be similar to the way in which a vehicle partially owned by Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley acquired Agent Provocateur recently. Such deals have proved controversial as creditors, including landlords and suppliers, clearly prove to be the losers.
Alteri itself had earlier taken this route when it put Brantano into administration but re-acquired the business without being weighed down by around 60 unprofitable stores.
But Alteri, known as a turnaround specialist, is not interested in retaining Jones and is seeking a new owner after just two years in charge of the brand.
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