The man who could step in to save Wilko: US property tycoon in last gasp effort to save stricken retailer
M2 Capital is teaming up with a controversial property magnate in a last gasp effort to save Wilko, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Michael Flacks, founder, chairman and chief executive of Miami-based private equity giant Flacks Group, is understood to be in discussions with the Anglo-Canadian private equity group over building a consortium for the stricken retailer.
News that M2 Capital, a restructuring specialist, was interested in bidding for Wilko first emerged over the weekend.
Administrators at PwC are looking over offers for the troubled homeware retailer and pressing suitors for more information about their bids.
Wilko plunged into administration at the beginning of August after several months of teetering on the edge of collapse.
Consortium: Michael Flacksfounder, chairman and chief exec of private equity giant Flacks Group
After dropping out of school aged 15, Flacks made his millions by acquiring underperforming businesses, as well as building a real estate empire.
He considered a takeover offer for British fashion chain Laura Ashley in 2019 and acquired Kelly-Moore Paint Company, a beleaguered US paint manufacturer, earlier this year.
The 55-year-old lives on an exclusive island in Miami, brushing shoulders with the likes of talk show host Oprah Winfrey and singer Shakira.
He and his wife Debbie paid £19.2million in cash for a property on Fisher Island earlier this summer.
Flacks hit the headlines a decade ago after leading a consortium to buy struggling Irish fashion brand A-Wear and then leaving within a year amid speculation of a dispute.
He told the press in 2012 he had never found making money to be a challenge but added: ‘What I have found difficult is holding on to it.’
M2 Capital, along with Flacks, hopes to take over the privately owned High Street retailer for £90million in a deal that would stop all job losses for two years. The company also wants to give staff a 3.5 per cent pay increase.
M2 chairman Robert Mantse told the Mail his group had ‘the best offer on the table,’ after submitting a formal offer three minutes before a deadline on Friday.
But there have been tensions between the suitor and administrators over sending more details including funding, legal representation and a business strategy.
Exclusive: Flacksfounder, who dropped out of high school aged 15, owns a condo on the private Fisher Island in Miami (pictured)
Canadian tycoon Doug Putman, who owns HMV and Toys R Us in Canada, has also thrown his hat into the ring to rescue the firm. He is bidding to save 350 stores and pay a £40million debt to Wilko’s creditor Hilco.
At the same time, Wilko’s High Street rivals B&M and Poundland are in talks to take some of its stores but not thought to want the whole brand.
In a reprieve for Wilko’s 12,000 employees, redundancies were suspended after union GMB met with administrators yesterday.
Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, said: ‘All redundancies at Wilko have been suspended while the administrator considers further bids.
Whilst this is a positive development, Wilko is not out of the woods by any means and this is a time of incredible stress and worry for the 12,500 workers.’
On Monday, the GMB wrote to Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch about ‘extremely concerning’ claims that some bidders had ‘difficulties engaging’ with PwC.
A government spokesman said: ‘While this is a commercial decision for the company, we understand that this will be a concerning time for workers at Wilko.’