The UK’s largest camera specialist Jessops has unveiled a survival deal which secures 2,000 jobs but leaves its bank owning almost half of the retailer.
The struggling Leicester-based firm, which has more than 200 stores, is selling its assets to a new company — Snap Equity — 47% owned by HSBC and 33% owned by pension trustees, with the remaining 20% held by an employee trust.
It will de-list from the Stock Exchange and become a private company as a result of the deal.
As part of the transaction, HSBC will forgive £34m of debt owed by Jessops plc.
Just £100,000 will be left to split between shareholders in the old business, Jessops said.
Jessops is laden with debt and said its only alternative was insolvency because suppliers were unwilling to support it in the run-up to the key Christmas trading period.
Executive chairman David Adams,said: “After many months of hard work, we have been able to secure a long-term future for Jessops Group. Thanks to the continued support of HSBC, the restructuring proposal will ensure that Jessops Group remains a fundamentally strong business with a strong presence on the High Street. It will also protect thousands of jobs and ensure that our customers continue to receive the specialist service they expect from us.
“I would like to thank our suppliers and staff for their support over the past two years.
“I firmly believe that this proposal is in the best interest of Jessops Group, its creditors, employees and our millions of customers.”