Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley bids for stricken Patisserie Valerie chain

Patisserie Valerie (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Patisserie Valerie (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has made a bid for cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, which collapsed into administration last month.

A Sports Direct statement late on Friday confirmed an offer had been made, but gave no further details.

Administrator KPMG closed 70 Patisserie Valerie outlets, but kept 121 open in the hope of finding a buyer.

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The cafe chain employed about 3,000 staff, but some 900 jobs were lost in the initial wave of closures after KPMG was appointed to run the business in January.

The company was plunged into turmoil last October, after it uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.

The company said in a statement last month that it did not have enough money to meet its debts.

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In addition to Patisserie Valerie, the company’s other brands include Druckers Vienna Patisserie, Philpotts, Baker & Spice and Flour Power City.

Finance director Chris Marsh was arrested after having been suspended by the company when the financial irregularities were uncovered.

Also under investigation, by the Financial Reporting Council, are former Patisserie Valerie auditors Grant Thornton.

Mr Ashley, who also owns House of Fraser, English Premier League football club Newcastle United, and has a big stake in Debenhams, made his name building budget chain Sports Direct into Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer. He missed out this week on a bid for HMV.