GMB calls for ‘urgent meeting’ over Wilko administrators

Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB Union which is representing Wilko staff, has reportedly written to business secretary Kemi Badenoch asking for an “urgent meeting” to ensure all bids for the homewares chain are given due consideration.

In Prendergast's letter, which was seen by the Guardian, he said that the organisation was concerned that prior to its involvement in the proceedings, several bidders had reported difficulties engaging with administrators at PwC.

He added that several bidders “appear to have the necessary funding and the willingness to invest and safeguard” members’ jobs.

The news comes after private equity firm M2 Capital has reportedly lodged an offer of around £90 million to rescue beleaguered homewares chain Wilko.

According to The Guardian, it is understood that the offer from M2 was posted late last week after reports that HMV owner Doug Putnam was engaged in last-ditch talks to buy around half of Wilko’s 400 stores and save between 3,000 to 4,000 jobs.

Wilko currently employs over 12,000 people.

Putnam rescued HMV in 2019 and has since returned the physical media outlet to profit.

Earlier this month, Wilko chose to file a notice of intent to appoint administrators at the high court after having struggled financially for some time.

At the time, the company had already amended the terms of a £40 million credit facility it received in January in order to “bolster the availability of financing”.

Recent efforts to shore up its finances have also seen Wilko cut more than 400 jobs, sell its Nottinghamshire-based distribution centre to DHL for around £48 million, and set in motion plans to negotiate rent cuts across its store portfolio via a mechanism known as a company voluntary agreement (CVA).

Wilko is the largest retailer to have fallen into administration since convenience store chain McColl's last year. McColl's was eventually saved by Morrisons.

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