The man who could step in to save Wilko: US real estate magnate at the last second to bail out ailing retailer
M2 Capital is teaming up with a controversial real estate magnate in a last ditch effort to save Wilko, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Michael Flacks, founder, chairman and CEO of Miami-based private equity giant Flacks Group, is said to be in talks with the Anglo-Canadian private equity group to form a consortium for the ailing retailer.
At the weekend it was announced for the first time that M2 Capital, a restructuring specialist, was interested in an offer for Wilko.
PwC administrators are reviewing bids for the troubled home goods retailer and are urging applicants for more information on their offerings.
Wilko threw himself into government in early August after several months on the brink of collapse.
Consortium: Michael Flacks, Founder, Chairman and CEO of private equity giant Flacks Group
After dropping out of school at age 15, Flacks made his millions by taking over underperforming companies and building a real estate empire.
He considered a takeover bid for British fashion chain Laura Ashley in 2019 and earlier that year acquired Kelly-Moore Paint Company, a struggling US paint maker.
The 55-year-old lives on an exclusive island in Miami and hangs out with talk show host Oprah Winfrey and singer Shakira.
He and his wife Debbie paid £19.2million in cash for a property on Fisher Island earlier this summer.
Flacks made headlines a decade ago after he led a consortium to buy ailing Irish fashion brand A-Wear, then left within a year amid speculation about a dispute.
He told the press in 2021 that making money had never been a challenge for him, but added, “What I found difficult is sticking with it.”
M2 Capital, along with Flacks, are hoping to take over the private high street retailer for £90m, which would avoid losing all jobs for two years. In addition, the company wants to grant its employees a salary increase of 3.5 percent.
M2 chairman Robert Mantse told the Mail his group had “the best offer on the table” after submitting a formal offer three minutes before Friday’s deadline.
However, there was tension between the applicant and the administrators over providing further details, including funding, legal representation and a business strategy.
Exclusive: Flacksfounder, who dropped out of high school at 15, owns a condo on private Fisher Island in Miami (pictured)
Canadian tycoon Doug Putman, who owns HMV and Toys R Us in Canada, has also thrown his hat in the ring to save the company. He offers to bail out 350 stores and pay off £40m debt to Wilko’s creditor Hilco.
At the same time, Wilko’s high-street competitors B&M and Poundland are in talks to acquire some of its stores, but don’t expect to buy the entire brand.
The layoffs were suspended as a reprieve for Wilko’s 12,000 workers after the GMB union met with management yesterday.
Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, said: “All redundancies at Wilko have been suspended while the administrator considers further offers.”
While this is a positive development, Wilko is far from out of the woods and this is a time of incredible stress and worry for the 12,500 workers.”
On Monday, the GMB wrote to Business Minister Kemi Badenoch about “extremely worrying” allegations that some bidders were having “difficulty” in getting in touch with PwC.
A government spokesman said: “While this is a commercial decision for the company, we understand this will be a worrying time for workers at Wilko.”