Sports Direct confirms Patisserie Valerie bid: Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, has confirmed it has made a bid to buy Patisserie Holdings, the parent company of Patisserie Valerie, out of administration. The offer is one of a number that has been made for Patisserie Holdings, which moved into a second round of bidding this week. Sports Direct stated: "Sports Direct International confirms it has made an offer to acquire the business comprising the trade and assets of Patisserie Holdings and its group companies out of administration." As well as Sports Direct, Ashley owns Premier League side Newcastle United and has expanded his retail empire by buying House of Fraser and Evans Cycles as well as stakes in Debenhams and French Connection. Administrators KPMG said this week it had received a range of proposals from prospective buyers, ranging from the purchase of the entire business to smaller parts of it. Patisserie Holdings has been grappling with the fallout of an accounting fraud since October. It was placed into administration last month when it failed to renew its banking facilities after revealing the £40m black hole initially discovered in its accounts was worse than first thought. A total of 70 stores and concessions were closed immediately with up to 900 staff losing their jobs, with 51 of the stores being marketed by Savills as sites for immediate occupation. A total of 122 sites remain open.
Richoux Group non-executive chairman resigns: Richoux Group, which owns and operates Richoux, Friendly Phil’s, Villagio and The Broadwick restaurants, has announced Simon Morgan has resigned as non-executive chairman with immediate effect. Morgan’s departure comes a day after shareholders backed the board’s proposal to cancel admission of its ordinary shares to trading on AIM and re-register as a private limited company. Morgan joined Richoux Group as non-executive chairman in February 2017. The directors announced their intention last month to withdraw Richoux Group from the stock market in the “best interests of the company and shareholders”. They said the “considerable” cost, management time, and legal and regulatory burden associated with maintaining the company’s admission on AIM was “materially disproportionate” to the benefits, given the company was “unlikely to receive material support from potential providers of capital or additional financing to support the company as it is currently structured”. The directors said they had come to the decision the cancellation would enable the company to significantly reduce administrative costs, enabling Richoux to continue trading as a private company, possibly without requiring external funding, while the company focused on improving its estate. As previously announced, it is expected the cancellation of admission to trading of ordinary shares of 4p each in the capital of Richoux Group will become effective at 7am on Friday, 15 February and the last day of dealings in ordinary shares on AIM will therefore be Thursday, 14 February. Richoux Group currently operates 14 restaurants.