In a further sign of Arcadia’s financial troubles, a new report has emerged claiming that the retail group paid just $1 (76p) to buy out private equity firm Leonard Green.
The US private equity firm acquired the 25% stake in the British retail empire for £500m in 2012. It sold it back to Philip Green’s Arcadia for a token sum several weeks ago, Sky News reported.
In an announcement released earlier this week Leonard Green & Partners confirmed the sale, but insisted it had the option to reacquire the stake in the future.
The fact that the investment firm had written down the value of its shareholding to just $1 is further evidence of the financial challenges facing Arcadia Group. The high street empire, behind fashion labels including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Burton, is expected to launch a radical restructuring of the business in early May.
In its announcement, Leonard Green & Partners explained that the deal would “enable the Arcadia board to focus on the restructuring options currently being considered”. It insisted that it “remained supportive of the business”.
With hundreds of stores in the UK and more than a thousand in 36 countries, Arcadia has been mulling its options as more and more shoppers turn away from the high street in favour of online shopping.
The business is also understood to be negotiating a reduction of the £50m it makes to its pensions scheme every year. Arcadia’s pensions scheme is understood to have thousands of members, dragging it to an estimated deficit of about £550m.