Retail tycoon pulls Patisserie Valerie offer after just two days

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has pulled out of its offer to buy cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, just two days after making a bid, complaining of being shut out of the bidding process.

Sports Direct made a statement late on Friday, confirming an offer had been made for the bakery chain which collapsed last month following the discovery of fraudulent activity in its accounts.

It said: “Sports Direct International confirms that it has made an offer to acquire the business comprising the trade and assets of Patisserie Holdings plc and its group companies out of administration.”

However, the Financial Times reported that Sports Direct wrote to Patisserie Valerie’s administrators KPMG, complaining of lacking further information needed to continue bidding for the group and is subsidiaries.

It is understood that Chris Wootton, deputy chief financial officer at Sports Direct, wrote to David Costley-Wood, the KPMG partner handling the administration, to say it had made a “serious and substantial” offer in excess of £15m but was told it would need to increase the amount by as much as £2m.

As a result, Sports Direct withdrew its offer, saying it needed more detailed financial information about Patisserie Valerie than was being provided.

The news comes days after KPMG said that the chain had received a flurry of rescue bids for the business and said it would be taking a number of the offers forward and hope to be able to make progress “in short order”.

Competing bids for the business are thought to include Costa, the coffee chain bought by Coca-Cola last year.

Ashley, who owns 61.5% of Sports Direct, has been on an acquisition spree over the past year.

He bought House of Fraser last year, and also acquired Evans Cycles and lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur.

Sports Direct has shareholdings in French Connection and Game Digital.

Last week it was revealed that Sports Direct was a front runner to buy Sofa.com, but the company lost out in its bid for music retailer HMV, pipped to the post by Canada’s Sunrise Records.

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