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Last Updated: Monday, 1 August 2005, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Gift firm calls in administrators
Red Letter Days founder and chief executive Rachel Elnaugh
Ms Elnaugh recently finished filming a second series of Dragon's Den
Adventure and experience gift firm Red Letter Days (RLD) has been placed in administration, it has been confirmed.

The firm, run by Dragon's Den judge Rachel Elnaugh went into administration on Monday after building up large debts and some suppliers withdrew services.

"We are looking for a quick sale and we have received some interest," said Kroll, the administrators.

On Sunday, it was confirmed Ms Elnaugh was in talks with fellow Dragon's Den judge Peter Jones about selling RLD.

Ian Haworth, a spokesman for the firm said at the time that Mr Jones "hopes to make an announcement on Tuesday".

Any consumer-facing business can quickly lose value if its customers lose confidence in the brand
Andrew Pepper, Kroll

However, reports suggest he could face a battle with former Millwall Football Club chairman Theo Paphitis who is also said to be keen on reviving the business.

'Interested parties'

Administrators said in a statement that the firm had collapsed "as a result of cash flow difficulties that can only be resolved with further investment".

Administrator Andrew Pepper added that a number of third parties had expressed interest in the firm, but declined to identify any prospective buyers.

"We are very keen to sell this business in short order, as any consumer-facing business can quickly lose value if its customers lose confidence in the brand and we will be looking to act very quickly to prevent this from happening," he added.

The firm had been placed in administration as a "protective measure" and its "outstanding brand position" would make it attractive to any buyers, Mr Pepper said.

Market leader

Chief executive Ms Elnaugh set up the firm 15 years ago after searching high and low for a birthday present for her father.

The group offers "experience gifts" whether it be high-octane motor racing or gentler pursuits such as gardening lessons with Charlie Dimmock.

The firm offers vouchers for more than 1,000 activities that are available at various department stores and online.

According to its website the company is a 20m business leading a market that is now worth 200m a year.

Earlier this year, the company appointed Sir Rodney Walker as chairman in anticipation of listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) later this year.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Customers reveal what the collapse has meant to them



SEE ALSO:
Q & A: Red Letter Days
02 Aug 05 |  Breakfast
Adventure firm in possible buyout
31 Jul 05 |  Business
Surviving the Dragons' Den
22 Feb 05 |  Business
British women close business gap
21 Jan 05 |  Business


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