McColl’s future takes another turn when owner Morrison and Asda file last-minute bids to take control of a collapsed chain of stores.

  • Morrisons and owner Asda EG Group are fighting for the firm in the fight for the takeover
  • On Friday, McCall’s creditors rejected Morrison’s offer
  • An application from Morrisons would protect the “vast majority” of staff and stores

McColl’s future made another turn last night after last-minute two grooms applied for control of a shattered chain store.

Morrisons and owner of the Asda EG Group, run by the billionaire brothers Isa, are fighting for the firm in a fight for takeovers that could cause a shock in the sector.

McCall’s creditors on Friday rejected Morrison’s offer, according to which he took on the firm’s debts and repaid them over time.

Uncertain future: McColl’s, which employs 16,000 people and more than 1,100 stores, has joined the administration after failing to repay debts of almost £ 100 million

A bid from Morrisons – McColl’s sole supplier – would protect the “vast majority” of staff and shops, as well as its £ 141 million retirement plan.

But Morrison returned yesterday with an improved deal under which creditors immediately repaid in full, meeting one of their key claims, Sky News reports, although details are unclear. Morrison declined to comment. However, it is believed that the giant of gas stations EG Group has since made its latest bid – including a commitment to fulfill McCall’s pensions, according to sources. EG Group also declined to comment.

It is assumed that PwC, which advises McColl’s creditors, is preparing to set up a showdown between competitors, in which they will present their best proposals for the group.

McColl’s, which has 16,000 employees and more than 1,100 stores, joined the administration last week after failing to pay off debts of nearly £ 100 million.

In November, she sounded the alarm over a shortage of key products, truck drivers and distribution center workers.

The firm also issued a series of earnings warnings, and in February it became clear that it was on the verge of collapse. Morrison denounced the decision to hand over the group to the administration, a key condition of the proposal from the EG Group, as “frustration, harm and uselessness”.

Proponents of the company’s pension scheme wrote to Isa’s brothers demanding that EG Group support its retirement commitments, telling them: “Any company wishing to acquire McColl’s should do decent things and ensure that promises made to employees regarding their pensions are kept.”

Trustees also wrote to business secretary Quasi Quarteng, urging him to intervene to ensure the protection of 2,200 members of the scheme.

Labor and Pensions Representative Jonathan Ashworth called on ministers not to “stand aside and do nothing” but to protect pensions.

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