The investors who bought shirt-maker TM Lewin in a controversial deal earlier this year are in talks to acquire Jaeger, the fashion label owned by the ailing businessman Philip Day.
Sky News has learnt that Torque Brands, a vehicle headed by the former Simba mattress chief James Cox, is one of a small number of parties plotting to buy Jaeger.
The clothing brand’s current owner is Mr Day’s EWM Group, which is teetering on the brink of collapse.
More than 20,000 jobs are at risk if EWM, which also owns the Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill chains, falls into administration.
A notice of intention to appoint FRP Advisory as administrator was filed earlier this month and is due to expire on Thursday, although people close to Mr Day say there is a “reasonable likelihood” that it will apply for an extension.
The tycoon, who has built one of Britain’s largest high street empires by snapping up struggling brands such as Austin Reed and Jane Norman, is trying to retain control of Peacocks, aided by a capital injection from the US hedge fund Davidson Kempner.
The fate of the EWM chain looks more precarious, given its reliance on elderly customers.
Torque would be a logical buyer for Jaeger.
It was established to acquire a portfolio of retail businesses, buying TM Lewin in a solvent deal during the summer but which led to it being put through an insolvency process – with the loss of its entire store network – just weeks later.
EWM and Torque Brands declined to comment.