Arcadia administrators place price tag of £200m on Topshop
Administrators for Sir Philip Green's collapsed retail chain Arcadia have placed a price tag of £200m on its prime asset, Topshop, and are hoping to secure a sale before Christmas.
According to The Guardian Deloitte has received a significant amount of interest in the group's brands, which include Burton, Wallis, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, with Sir Philip said to be backing online group Boohoo as the best buyer for the flagship brand Topshop.
However Deloitte will be duty bound to find the best deal for the business and both Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma have said they will be watching the process carefully. Others said to be circling include Next, Marks & Spencer, various private equity houses and Mike Ashley's Frasers Group, which confirmed it was investigating the possibility of a bid today.
Frasers, however, is in the midst of trying to secure a deal to save the Debenhams department store chain, which initiated liquidation proceedings last week after Arcadia, which is its biggest concessionaire, announced its administration.
Hilco, the liquidator for Debenhams, is said to have been asking for £300m to secure the business and Ashley's initial bid is believed to have been half of that, but he is understood to have upped it. The liquidator's responsibility is to maximise value for creditors so any sale price will need to exceed the money they could raise from selling off the retailer's stock.
Frasers has said that if it is to do a deal, it must be done quickly with suggestions that a decision could be made as early as tomorrow. Earlier today, speaking on Sky News, Frasers finance chief Chris Wootton said talks were centred on whether Frasers would buy "some or none" of Debenhams, which seemed to suggest it would not take the entire 124-store chain.
Debenhams' beauty business is said to be one of the most valuable parts of the business, along with its e-commerce site.
If no white knight rescuer emerges for Debenhams, then all of its stores are set to disappear from the high street by March.
It seems likely that Arcadia may end up being broken up with Boohoo seen as the most likely destination for Topshop at this stage (though that would likely mean its stores would all close) and others picking up some of the more mainstream brands.
The Guardian also reports that Tesco, which houses 30 Dorothy Perkins concessions, may be interested in buying that brand with sources suggesting that Dorothy Perkins had been trading relatively well prior to the administration of Arcadia.