• Mike Ashley’s initial bid for Austin Reed collapses
  • Sports Direct tycoon had been the front-runner to rescue the retailer
  • Philip Day, Touker Suleyman and Harold Tillman among other interested parties

Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley’s bid to acquire beleaguered fashion chain Austin Reed has collapsed, Retail Week has learned.

As revealed by Retail Week earlier this month, the billionaire had emerged as the front-runner to save the business, which plunged into administration last month, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

But sources close to the situation said talks between Ashley and administrator AlixPartners had broken down due to concerns over the structure of the proposed deal.

Retail Week understands that Ashley missed administrators’ deadline of yesterday evening to restructure his initial bid, but the Sports Direct owner remains interested in the business and could yet return with an eleventh hour offer.

Ghost and Hawes & Curtis owner Touker Suleyman and Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive Philip Day are still thought to be in the running for parts of the business.

Reports earlier this week suggested that former Jaeger owner Harold Tillman had also joined the race to rescue the retailer, although he would not be willing to take on Austin Reed’s entire portfolio of 100 stores and 50 concessions. 

Retail Week revealed last month that Moss Bros, Joules, White Stuff and Jones Bootmaker were also eyeing parcels of stores, but it is unclear whether that interest has resulted in any firm bids. 

AlixPartners is yet to respond to Retail Week’s request for comment.