Albemarle & Bond Rescued From Administration
More than 600 jobs have been saved after the majority of the Albemarle & Bond pawnbroking business was bought out of administration.
Promethean Investments - led by former Bank of Scotland boss Sir Peter Burt - is to take 128 of the 187 branches available in a move that secures 628 jobs but leaves a further 181 hanging in the balance in the hands of administrators.
Mike Jervis, lead administrator at PwC, said: "The deal announced today was the best offer received, preserving the most jobs and keeping the most stores open.
"All 120,000 pledged items remain safe and available for the customers to redeem."
No price was disclosed.
The chain - which had a peak value of £220m in 2011 - collapsed following a deterioration in world gold prices, which hit the value of goods under its control.
That coincided with stiff competition from other pawnbrokers and payday lenders which forced it to diversify towards cash transfer services and payday lending.
It entered administration when creditors rejected a restructuring plan.
Albemarle & Bond even resorted to melting down its own gold stocks to raise cash but was forced to admit defeat last month.
Restructuring specialist Stephen Plowman will be chief executive of the business, which is to "refocus back to its core business lines of pawnbroking and jewellery retailing."