Administration ‘not what we wanted’, says Oasis chief | News

The group, which is owned by failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, had been in talks with prospective buyers over the last few weeks. Although there is thought to have been strong interest in a deal, the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic is understood to have made a solvent sale impossible to conclude, so the group is preparing to appoint Deloitte as administrators. 

“As you know, we have spent the last few weeks, together with our shareholders, trying to navigate through the crisis caused by Covid-19, which has had a devastating effect on the entire retail industry, and indeed on our business,” Ladha said in an internal letter to Oasis and Warehouse staff. “I also appreciate that there has been media speculation on the future of the business, which I know has been unsettling.

“Sadly, despite our best efforts to preserve the business in its current form, it hasn’t been possible, and this afternoon we will go into administration. This decision has been made to protect the business and preserve as many jobs as possible, while the administrators, Deloitte, look to achieve a sale of the business.”

He added: “I know this news is shocking and very difficult to hear. This is not what any of us wanted, and I share your pain and disappointment. We as a management team have done everything we can to try and save the amazing brands we all love.

“Undoubtedly you will have many questions. The Deloitte team handling the administration will be in touch with you to explain how the process works and to talk to you about next steps.

“On behalf of the management team, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your passion and dedication to the brands and to the business. Since I took on this role, I have been in awe of your tenacity, determination and drive, and I am incredibly proud of the work we have done to together.

“Lastly, I’m sorry I have not been able to deliver this message personally, given we are all at home. I will always be eternally grateful for what you have done and the support you have given.”

Administrators for Kaupthing launched a sale for the group, which at the time included Karen Millen and Coast, back in November 2016. Kaupthing then opted to withdraw from the sale process in 2017, after the only remaining bidder was Emerisque Brands, a private equity firm.