Sir Philip Green’s troubled Arcadia retail group has bought back a 25% stake in clothes stores Topshop and Topman (TSTM) from US private equity house Leonard Green & Partners.
The US investor, which owns Pure Gym, bought the stake in 2012 for a reported £350mln. It was hoped at the time that the deal would help Topshop and Topman expand across the pond.
News of the purchase comes at a time when Arcadia is reportedly mulling a company voluntary arrangement – a type of insolvency that would allow it to cut rents and close stores.
Last month, the group, which also includes Burton and Miss Selfridge, said any job cuts and store closures would not be “significant”.
Like much of the high street, Arcadia’s stores have seen sales and profits fall in recent years as shoppers switch to online shopping.
Stagnant wage growth and political and economic uncertainty have also dented consumer confidence, while bricks-and-mortar retailers have been stung by higher business rates and taxes.
The group is also in discussions with pension regulators about reducing its cash contributions into its pension pot, which currently has a £500mln hole in it.
Chance to buy it back (again)
Green himself has been embroiled in claims of bullying and inappropriate behaviour, which he has strongly denied.
Arcadia couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, but Leonard Green said the transaction allowed Arcadia to “focus on the restructuring options being considered”.
“Leonard Green remains supportive of the business and has the opportunity to repurchase its stake in the future,” it said in a statement.