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Hamleys chairman steps down amid House of Fraser fallout

The former boss of House of Fraser has stepped down as chairman of Hamleys, as the aftermath of the collapse of the department store chain continues to hit.

Frank Slevin had been chairman of the toy shop chain since it was bought by a Chinese company affiliated to House of Fraser’s former owners three years ago. His position has been terminated, according to a filing at Companies House.

His departure was finalised on the same day that House of Fraser was bought out of administration by Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct.

The complex web starts with C Banner – run by CHen Yixi, the brother-in-law of Yuan Yafei, who led the company that owned House of Fraser. C Banner pulled out of its talks to buy a 51 per cent stake in the retailer earlier this year.

Slevin was executive chairman of House of Fraser and seen as a ‘key link between its management’ and Mr Yuan, the chairman of Sanpower Group, the firm that maneuvered a £480 million takeover of House of Fraser in 2014.

The Times reports that the pre-pack sale of House of Fraser wiped out the Chinese group’s equity in the business after it invested £60 million over the past year. Following the demise of House of Fraser, shares in C Banner have have fallen dramatically.

Yuan’s purchase of House of Fraser was intended to pave the way for the formation of a powerful overarching group with a collection of global brands.

A source has told The Times that “I think he ultimately wanted C Banner to have Hamleys, House of Fraser and other brands, but it hasn’t worked out according to plan.”

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