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UK retailer Philip Green offloads BHS to buyout firm
March 12, 2015 / 4:32 PM / 3 years ago

UK retailer Philip Green offloads BHS to buyout firm

LONDON (Reuters) - British retailer Philip Green said on Thursday his struggling department store chain BHS had been acquired by buyout firm Retail Acquisitions.

CEO Philip Green of Britain's retail clothing store Topshop poses before opening the chain's New York flagship store, November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Billionaire Green, whose family owns the Topshop-to-Dorothy Perkins Arcadia Group, gave no financial details about the deal, after saying in January that several groups had expressed interest in the loss-making chain.

Losses at BHS had widened to 21 million pounds ($31.5 million) in 2013-14 from 19.3 million pounds the year before, the firm said in November.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into this iconic British high street brand. We are convinced that with strategic and focused support we will return BHS to profitability, and safeguard the workforce,” said Keith Smith, the chairman of Retail Acquisitions.

Green bought BHS for 200 million pounds ($298 million) in 2000. The tycoon subsequently acquired Arcadia, owner of the Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans chains, for 850 million pounds in 2002. He has twice tried and failed to buy Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, the latest attempt in 2004.

BHS trades from 171 UK stores and 88 franchise stores internationally. It has a staff of 11,000.

“The business is handed over in a sound financial position with significant cash balances and banking facilities in place,” said Green.

“I am confident that Retail Acquisitions have a platform to grow the business and return it to profitability.”

Retail Acquisitions said it plans to appoint a chairman with significant retail experience and further retail turnaround experts.

Reporting by Paul Sandle and James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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