Majority of jobs salvaged as Endless revives Jones Bootmaker deal

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/majority-of-jobs-salvaged-as-endless-revives-jones-bootmaker-deal-10812771">Majority of jobs salvaged as Endless revives Jones Bootmaker deal</a>
 

More than 800 jobs at the troubled footwear chain Jones Bootmaker are being saved through a rescue deal struck 24 hours after talks with the buyer were called off.

Sky News understands that investment firm Endless will announce a deal later on Friday to acquire more than 70 of Jones's stores, salvaging the majority of the company's workforce.

Roughly 250 jobs are nevertheless expected to be lost, according to people familiar with the agreement struck between Endless and Alteri Investors, Jones's current owner.

The value of the deal is understood to be roughly £10.5m.

If completed, the deal will be implemented through a pre-pack administration, which enables Endless to acquire only the assets it believes are viable.

Earlier this week, Jones's sister retailer, Brantano, collapsed into administration.

Brantano, which employs a similar number of people to Jones, could yet be bought by Edinburgh Woollen Mill or Shoe Zone (Other OTC: SHEZF - news) , according to retail insiders.

Alteri, which put Austin Reed‎, the menswear chain, into a bankruptcy process last year, had already filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators at Jones.

The use of pre-packs - also in evidence at Agent Provocateur, the upmarket lingerie brand - is attracting growing interest in Westminster, with some MPs (BSE: MPSLTD.BO - news) said to be keen to launch a full inquiry into their application.

Alteri, which is backed by Apollo, the American private equity giant, had bought Jones and Brantano in 2015, putting the latter's operations through an earlier pre-pack process.

KPMG is overseeing the Jones process, while PricewaterhouseCoopers is handling the Brantano administration.

Alteri and Endless declined to comment on Friday, while KPMG could not be reached.

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