In the UK, trading in Woolworths’ shares was suspended this morning at the company’s request, as they are on the verge of bankruptcy and deep in negotiations for a rescue. They said in a statement that they are in talks to sell the BBC Woolworths’ 40 percent share of their 2entertain joint venture, which produces and distributes BBC shows on DVD. There are reports of agreement for a sale of that unit for 100 million pounds, but the Times says “the sale of the DVD business hinges on talks over the rest of the business.”
The chain is still in talks to sell off the 840 Woolworth’s stores as well. The Times adds, “the company said that both deals are subject to approval from its lending banks, led by GMAC and Burdale, and it is understood Woolworth’s is meeting with its lenders today.”
But “sources last night said administration was the most likely option as the retailer scrabbles to find sufficient funds to pay the monthly wage bill for its 30,000-strong staff…. It is understood that the retailer’s finances are balanced on a knife edge as its till receipts have fallen and its suppliers have refused to trade with it.”
Meanwhile, as with PGW and AMS, the fate of the distributors Bertram’s and EUK is tied up with the parent company.