Ted Baker completes sale and leaseback of London HQ

Ted Baker

Ted Baker has confirmed that it has completed the sale and lease-back process for its North London HQ, dubbed The Ugly Brown Building.

The building has been sold to a wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways Pension Trustees Limited, for a cash consideration of £78.75 million. The net proceeds of £72m will be used to reduce the fashion and lifestyle group’s indebtedness to lenders.

Ted Baker first announced the move would be taking place in March and it was approved at its shareholder’s meeting on 18 June.

The company previously stated that once the deal was completed it would enter into an option with the purchaser to take a long-term lease of part of the adjacent newly developed property, to be known as Bowline, Tribeca, St Pancras Way.

Once the Bowline is completed, Ted Baker has the right to take a lease, which can be optioned until June 2021, for an annual rent of £4.2 million based on the square footage required.

The sale and leaseback was one of the first moves made by then acting CEO and now permanent CEO Rachel Osborne who arrived at the business from Debenhams last September.

Osborne has been seeking to get the business back on track after a tumultuous 2019 during which its founder and CEO Ray Kelvin was obliged to stand down amid allegations of staff harassment, which he has denied, and his successor and former COO Lindsay Page also followed him out of the door in December after a string of profits warnings. Chairman David Bernstein also left.

As well as rebuilding the board, Osborne also executed a share placing to raise £105m in cash to help the business through the COVID-19 crisis and to fund its future transformation plans.