Thirty-six parties were interested in saving Jessops as a u2018going concernu2019 u2013 and the reopening of some stores was considered u2013 after administrators pulled the plug.
It has also emerged that the 187-store retailer, which collapsed in January owing around £80m, made a loss of nearly £9 million in the 11 months before administrators stepped in.
Customers and suppliers are among unsecured creditors who will likely lose more than £48m as a result of ‘insufficient funds to enable distribution’, Jessops administrator PwC has said in a ‘statement of proposals’.
Meanwhile, PwC is set to report on the conduct of Jessops’ directors, as part of its statutory duties as administrator, according to an informed source.
The group to which Jessops belongs (a collection of more than 30 companies controlled by Jessop’s parent company, Snap Equity Limited) made a loss of £8.8m in the period 2 January – 25 November 2012.
This compared to a group loss of £5.1m in the previous 12 months, according to a report filed at Companies House a few days ago.
Jessops had a ‘growing online business’ at the time it went under, according to PwC who say they were contacted by more than 130 parties interested in buying parts of the company, and 36 as a ‘going concern acquisition’.
Administrators received 10 ‘indicative offers’, five of which were selected to go forward to a second round, before ‘best and final offers’ were submitted by 28 January.
Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that the reopening of some Jessops stores was considered.
PwC says the Jessops name, brands, website and domain names, along with intellectual property and customer databases, were eventually sold to a joint venture set up by entrepreneur Peter Jones and restructuring specialist Hilco, for £1.4m on 30 January.
A total of £525,000 was paid for intellectual property rights.
As we reported last month, it appears that Hilco may no longer have any interest in the affairs of Jessops.
Hilco had earlier taken control of HMV by acquiring its debt after the music retailer also fell into administration.
There had been speculation that HMV may play host to mini-Jessops shops.
Hilco and Peter Jones – who has been rumoured to be interested in reopening some Jessops shops – have so far not responded to AP’s requests for comment.