Maplin in Talks with Potential Buyers

Maplin in Talks with Potential Buyers
One of Britain’s biggest electronics retailers is in talks with potential buyers amid reports it is seeking to head off the threat of administration. Maplin, which has more than 200 stores and 2,500 staff, hopes to strike a deal this week, the company said.

News of a possible sale, first reported by Sky News, comes after insurers withdrew credit cover last year because of falling profits.

Maplin, owned by Rutland Partners, is the latest High Street name in trouble. A string of clothing retailers and restaurants, plus Toys R Us UK, have all run into financial problems in recent months.

However, Maplin said it expected to be able to unveil a “solvent sale” within days. “Once secured this will stabilise the business to the benefit of all stakeholders and provide Maplin with the financial firepower to deliver its 2020 multi-channel strategy focused on smart tech,” the company said in a statement. That is a reference to its 2020 Vision Strategy to take on competition from the likes of Amazon by not just selling smart devices, but installing them as well.

Sky News reported that the potential buyers include Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the clothing company that owns Peacocks, Country Casuals and several other retailers. It was also reported that if Maplin could not find an outright buyer, it would consider a so-called pre-pack sale. Under this arrangement Maplin would line up a sale before going into administration, with the new buyer emerging almost immediately with the most profitable assets.

Jeremy Corbyn Vows to Curb City of London’s Power

Jeremy Corbyn Vows to Curb City of London’s Power
Jeremy Corbyn is vowing to take on the City of London if he becomes prime minister, saying finance should be “the servant of industry, not the masters of us all”. The Labour leader will call for a “fundamental rethink” of the finance sector and how it is regulated. He will also promise to give the government new powers to intervene to prevent “hostile takeovers”.

The Tories said Labour would “end up harming Britain’s businesses”.

Mr Corbyn has often criticised bankers, and promised a “fundamental shift” in economic policy if he wins power.

In a speech to the EEF manufacturers’ organisation on Tuesday, he will say his administration would be the first in 40 years – a period which includes 13 years of Labour government – to “stand up for the real economy”.

“There can be no rebalancing of our distorted, sluggish and unequal economy without taking on the power of finance,” he will say. “For 40 years, deregulated finance has progressively become more powerful. Its dominance over industry, obvious and destructive; its control of politics, pernicious and undemocratic.”

A Labour government, he will say, “will take decisive action to make finance the servant of industry, not the masters of us all”.

Mr Corbyn will point to the ongoing attempt by manufacturing turnaround firm Melrose to gain control of engineering giant GKN as a further example of “short-term performance and narrow shareholder value (being) prioritised over long-run growth and broader economic benefit”. Labour would broaden the scope of the public interest test applied to such takeovers, he will say.

Responding to his remarks for the Conservatives, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick said: “Labour don’t know how to handle the economy and would end up harming Britain’s businesses, and there would be fewer good jobs for people as a result. We are stepping in to make sure businesses play by the rules, after Labour’s failure to properly regulate the banks.”

At the same EEF event, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will hail the UK’s manufacturing sector, saying the government is already “laying the groundwork” for new trading relationships across Africa and Asia after Brexit.