The administrators of Debenhams UK, FRP Advisory, said they had undertaken a “thorough and robust process” to achieve “the best outcome for Debenhams’ stakeholders. This transaction will allow a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge under strong new ownership, including an online operation and the opportunity to secure an international franchise network that will operate under licence using the Debenhams name.” This statement alone will make Mike Ashley ‘bristle’ when his £125m offer and regular public fighting with the Debenhams board when the realities of the retailers struggles emerged, was effectively told to wait in the naughty boys corner because they wanted anyone, but him.
Looking forwards, Boohoo has already bought a number of High Street brands out of administration. It snapped up Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, but not the associated stores. Its executive chairman, Mahmud Kamani, said: “This is a transformational deal for the group, which allows us to capture the fantastic opportunity as ecommerce continues to grow. Our ambition is to create the UK’s largest marketplace. Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion ecommerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.” Boohoo said Debenhams was expected to relaunch on Boohoo’s web platform in early 2022.