Next fashion and homewares chain is considering working with US owner Oak Furnitureland to buy top company Topshop.
Davidson Kempner Capital Management has held detailed talks with Next about a possible bid for Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which collapsed in administration last month, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.
Next is understood to be interested in Topshop and Topman while Davidson Kempner, who gave a £ 180m emergency loan to Poundland in 2018 and was previously linked to a possible rescue. Peacocks fashion chain, featuring smaller Arcadia brands such as Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Evans and Wallis.
Sources said there was no certainty that a deal would be put forward on Monday, when a collection of bids is now expected for Arcadia if Next selects Davidson Kempner as partner.
Next has also held talks with other financial houses, including Alteri and Carlyle, about an application, according to Sky News, which first outlined the possible connection with Davidson Kempner.
The retailer has expanded its portfolio of brands in the past year with a joint venture to run 18 Victoria Victoria Secret clothing stores in the UK, in addition to selling the brand in the UK. their own stores and online. It has also become a licensed partner for Ted Baker lingerie, and has used parts of several former Debenhams stores to create a new beauty look.
Other parties with an interest in Arcadia are thought to include Frasers Group Mike Ashley, online expert Boohoo, Marks & Spencer and Authentic Brands, owner of U.S. department store Barneys. Primark has also requested information from applicants but is not expected to issue a formal offer.
While Boohoo is seen as a forerunner for Topshop, Arcadia’s core asset since Deloitte’s management plans to raise about half the £ 400m guide price for the group, Next and some other bidders benefit by promising to keep several sources open.
Arcadia’s interconnected head office systems, including IT and discovery, make it difficult for a purely financial player to break up and so be willing to embrace the whole organization is attractive to customers. administration.
The sale is further complicated by Arcadia ‘s close links with Debenhams, which is set to close all stores by March unless a buyer can be found. The department store chain is in talks with Frasers about a possible rescue contract.
Davidson Kempner bought Oak Furnitureland out of administration in June and has since been visited as a potential rescuer for a number of UK businesses including Edinburgh Tweed Mill Group, owner of Peacocks and Jaeger, which is also sold by administrators.