// Asos confirms it is in exclusive talks to buy Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group
// It comes a day after speculation that it was “pole position” to buy Arcadia’s flagship Topshop brand for more than £250m
// The billionaire Issa brothers are also linked to a possible bid for Topshop
Asos has confirmed it is in exclusive talks with administrators to buy Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group retail empire.
The online retailer said the ongoing discussions were about snapping up Arcadia’s brands including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, sold via Burtons.
Asos said in a short statement to the London Stock Exchange: “The board believes this would represent a compelling opportunity to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base.
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“However, at this stage, there can be no certainty of a transaction and Asos will keep shareholders updated as appropriate. Any acquisition would be funded from cash reserves.”
Asos does not have a high street presence, prompting speculation that any deal is unlikely to include saving Arcadia’s vast store estate, leaving the brands trading online only.
In addition, Asos already sells Topshop items on its ecommerce platform.
The announcement comes days after Sky News reported yesterday that Asos was in “pole position” to buy Arcadia’s flagship Topshop brand for more than £250 million
Meanwhile, This is Money reported yesterday that the billionaire Issa brothers, the new owners of Asda, were also linked to a possible bid for Topshop.
Zuber and Mohsin Issa have reportedly been holding secret talks to buy the fashion brand for the past fortnight and are believed to have launched a late bid last week.
According to This Is Money, the Issa brothers have drawn up plans to put the fashion label into their Asda superstores alongside its George At Asda range.
The news comes days after Next said it was pulling out of discussions around a possible bid alongside US hedge fund Davidson Kempner as it was “unable to meet the price expectations of the vendor”.
Arcadia Group fell into administration at the tail-end of last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, years of under-investment and a failure to keep up with shifts to online shopping.
At the time of its collapse, it employed around 13,000 people and had 444 UK stores.
Final bids are expected to be tabled today, but with Asos revealing it is the only business in talks with administrators from Deloitte, this is now expected to be extended.
Deloitte must publish a list of creditors by today as part of insolvency laws, showing just how much debt was owed by Arcadia – including any money due to HMRC.
Green’s retail empire slid into administration on November 30 – a day before new laws came into force which would have seen the taxman become a preferred creditor and entitled to repayment ahead of unsecured creditors.
Other retailers including Boohoo, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, and JD Sports in partnership with US retail giant Authentic Brands, were also said to have been considering acquiring some or all of Arcadia’s stores.
Boohoo announced today that it would was saving the Debenhams brand in a £55 million deal but will close all stores.
Last month, Arcadia’s administrators agreed the sale of its plus-sized brand Evans to Australian firm City Chic Collective for £23 million. Evans’ stores were not part of the deal.
with PA Wires