Mike Ashley offers a $ 50 million lifeline to float the Arcadia ensemble in a clash between the giant beasts of the high street to control Sir Philip Green’s topshop empire.
Sky News learns that Mr Ashley’s Frasers Group has risked 13,000 jobs just hours before its board appointed executives to plans for an emergency loan to Arcadia.
The plan will intensify the bitter rivalry between the two men and reflect similar tactics used by Mr Ashley before the collapse of other major retailers, including Debenhams in recent years.
Chris Wooden, CEO of Frasers, confirmed the offer on Saturday: ‘We hope Sir Philip Green and the Arcadia Group will contact us today to discuss how we can support them and help save as many jobs as possible. “
A circle close to Fraser said the proposed refinancing could be in the form of a secured loan, which aims to prevent Arcadia – which also includes Burton and Dorothy Perkins – from falling into management.
The offer, however, raised doubts from analysts, however, pointing out that any loan from Frasers Group or Mr Ashley would require the approval of its retirement plan, which would require additional security for the company to disclose.
“It sounds like a stunt,” one said.
Mr Ashley told ITV News on Friday that he was interested in buying all of Arcadia’s brands.
Earlier this month, Sky News revealed that Arcadia had negotiated an emergency £ 30 million loan with several parties, but the security issue was understood to have played a key role in the inability to finalize a deal.
The collapse of Sir Philippe’s retail group, which has owned the billionaire president since 2002, is the most significant accident since the onset of the corona virus epidemic, and joins the high street bankruptcy list with Debenhams, Edinburgh Wool Mill and Kath Kitston.
This weekend, the taxpayer will also lose tens of thousands of pounds from the management of Arcadia, due to insolvency time.
Since Tuesday, the introduction of the crown option in bankruptcies has flowed his Majesty’s earnings and customs more than unsecured creditors and lenders, which are bank lending institutions against their inventory and stocks.
However, if Arcadia appoints executives on Monday, HMRC will be rated as an unsecured debtor, meaning it will only be able to normally repay the tens of thousands of pounds it is understood to have owed to Sir Philip’s empire.
Those close to the situation pointed out that the time was said to be more coincidental than deliberate, and that HMRC’s declining recovery would pay off in return for Arcadia’s pension plan and many small business suppliers.
Arcadia declined to comment beyond a statement issued on Friday, saying: “The forcible closure of our stores as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic has had a material impact on trade across our businesses.
“As a result, Arcadia boards are operating on a number of contingency options to protect the future of the group’s brands.
“Brands continue to trade, and our stores will reopen in the UK and ROI next week once government COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.”
Further reporting is expected on Monday.
Mr Ashley is keen to give Arcadia one last lease as he and other high street tycoons are positioning themselves to try to gain control of Topshop and some other brands of Arcadia.
J.D. Sports Fashion, Pooh Group and Next are expected to compete for the topshop, which was valued at $ 2 billion a decade ago, but can now command a price of around $ 250 million.
It is said that Sir Philip does not seek to repurchase any of Arcadia’s business operations from executives.
Sir Philip’s reputation was tarnished and his wealth diminished by the turmoil on the High Street, and most recently, after the corona virus epidemic, the administration’s confirmation comes a few years after the turmoil.
Arcadia, which announced about 500 head office cuts earlier this year, employs about 13,000 people.
It has more than 500 separate sites, most of which will be closed due to the UK’s second lockout, which ends next week.
Most of the group’s employees have received their salaries this year as a taxpayer grant under the government’s exciting scheme.
The collapse of the company is one of the most spectacular explosions in recent corporate history.
Sir Philip bought the High Street Group in 2002 for $ 850 million, and three years later paid $ 1.2 billion, one of the largest dividends, to Lady Christina, the registered owner of Arcadia.
For many years, he received a High Street Colossus, advising David Cameron on public sector waste during his time as prime minister.
In 2012, he sold a 25% stake in Topshop Instant Holdings to a private equity firm, Leonard Green & Partners, valued the fashion chain at b2 billion.
Sir Philip later bought it for just $ 1.
His decision to sell the department store chain to PHS £ 1 in 2015 to former bankrupt Dominic Chapel, who was recently jailed for tax evasion, set up a chain of events that would have lost Sir Philip’s reputation and lost most of his wealth.
The BHS collapsed a year after the deal, sparking a bitter line about Sir Philip’s liabilities to retirees.
In early 2017, Sir Philip signed an agreement with the Pension Monitoring Committees to pay more than 360 360 million for the BHS program, and two years later set the tone for negotiations on Arcadia’s pension fund.
Last year, the president received approval for a company to volunteer in Arcadia, but was forced to mortgage more than $ 400 million in assets to the company’s retirement plan.
Sir Philip’s pathetic period was not limited by the effectiveness of his business interests.
He was caught in a storm that prevented former workers from discussing their severance packs because of his dealings with Arcadia employees and his use of undisclosed contracts.