Final Whistle Looms For Struggling JJB
The struggling retailer JJB Sports is expected to deepen the gloom engulfing Britain's high streets on Monday by announcing that it intends to call in administrators.
I have learned that the board of JJB, which put itself up for sale last month, may say as early as tomorrow morning that it is lining up KPMG, the professional services firm, to oversee an administration process that could threaten thousands of jobs.
JJB has been in talks with prospective buyers, including Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and Stafford Group, a privately-owned Irish conglomerate, for several weeks. That process has been led by KPMG.
Insiders remain hopeful that a deal can be struck sometime this week, potentially saving a significant proportion of the company's 4,000 jobs.
Reports have suggested that only about half of JJB's 180 shops are likely to be sold, with the rest facing closure.
A person close to the company said the notice of JJB's intention to appoint administrators could be delayed beyond tomorrow morning depending upon the progress of negotiations before then.
The various bidders for JJB have been examining different structures through which they could take control of the company.
Among them has been a so-called 'pre-pack' administration, which involves the pre-negotiated sale of an insolvent business that allows a buyer to cherry-pick its assets.
JJB has lurched from one crisis to another in recent years, raising money from shareholders on several occasions in an attempt to stave off collapse.
However, a steep downturn in trading and a worse-than-expected performance during the Euro 2012 football tournament has left it staring into the abyss.
JJB declined to comment on Sunday evening.