Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct buys House of Fraser for £90m.

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct saves 17,000 jobs as he buys House of Fraser (HoF) for £90m.

The deal was announced just hours after the chain went into administration.

The announcement to the stock exchange came after it was announced this morning that the company had gone into administration.

Sports Direct has held an 11% stake in the business since 2014, and owns close to 30% shares in its rival Debenhams.

HoF had been intending to close 31 shops under a restructuring plan and the deal therefore saves 59 stores and 17,000 workers jobs.

The staff are being transferred on the same employment terms and conditions as the rest of Sports Direct’s employees, but Ashley’s plans for the business have not yet been released for the stores, so staff are still bracing themselves for future closures.

The 53-year-old entrepreneur is currently worth an estimated £2.8billion and is also owner of Newcastle United.

In a statement Ashley said: “This is a massive step forward and further enhances our strategy of elevation across the Group.

“This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector. We will do our best to keep as many stores open as possible.”

Unite, the country’s largest union, are less than enthusiastic about the buy out stating: “Sports Direct is a leopard that has not changed its spots and we hope that its poor record on pay and employment practices are not transferred to the House of Fraser.

“Sports Direct’s record at the Shirebrook warehouse operation in the East Midlands has been dreadful and, despite the recent terrible publicity, wages remain at the minimum legally payable, and the terms and employment conditions are threadbare.

“The company does not want to engage in any meaningful sense with Unite at Shirebrook and this obviously sparks concern at the fate that awaits the House of Fraser staff under the new ownership.

“ We fear for jobs and employment conditions at the House of Fraser going forward. The staff are entering a period of great uncertainty and worry.

“Ministers need to wake up to what is happening to hard working employees who have minimal employment protections in 2018 Britain.”