US retail giant Authentic Brands makes plans for Debenhams and Arcadia Group takeover

The US retail giant, Authentic Brands, has divulged plans for a double takeover of the collapsed department store chain Debenhams and Topshop-owner Arcadia Group.

According to a report from The Sunday Telegraph, Authentic Brands, the owner of the New York department store brand, Barneys, has been in talks with the administrators and was lining up bids for both companies.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the firm, which was founded by Canadian Jamie Salter in 2010, was lining up bids for both brands.

Authentic Brands comes with the backing of heavyweight financiers such as Blackrock and Leonard Green & Partners. Prior to the pandemic, it was on course to book turnover of $15bn. Throughout the crisis, founder Jamie Salter has seized the opportunity offered to buy up a number of struggling brands, including Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers.

Both Debenhams and Arcadia Group are to offer comment on the latest update.

Last week, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group said it was in negotiations to buy Debenhams from administrators in a rescue deal. It was also interested in participating in the sale of Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia Group.

Frasers, formerly Sports Direct, said that it hoped a deal could be agreed and jobs at Debenhams saved after the Covid-19 pandemic sunk its business, but cautioned that the transaction was complicated and talks needed to take place quickly.

Administrators for Debenhams said earlier in December it would be wound-down, closing all its shops after 242 years in business and putting 12,000 jobs at risk. Green’s Arcadia fashion group collapsed into administration late in November putting more than 13,000 jobs at risk.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group in ‘potential rescue talks’ with Debenhams

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is in talks over a ‘potential rescue transaction’ for the British department store Debenhams. The brand fell into administration last week, putting some 12,000 jobs at risk.

Frasers has said that it was ‘in negotiations with the administrators of Debenhams’ UK business’ on a possible deal, but it has warned that time is short for the retail brand.

In a stock market statement, it said: “Whilst Frasers Group hopes that a rescue package can be put in place and jobs saved, time is short and the position is further complicated by the recent administration of the Arcadia group, Debenhams’ biggest concession holder.

“There is no certainty that any transaction will take place, particularly if discussions cannot be concluded swiftly.”

Details of the talks were first disclosed over the weekend by The Sunday Times.

Finance director Chris Wootton reportedly said that under the deal, Frasers would “hope to be able to save as many jobs as possible.”

Debenhams announced that it was to wind down its business and close all 124 stores after JD Sports ended discussions over a rescue deal for the struggling department store chain. Talks ended between the two companies following the collapse of Arcadia Group.

The sports chain was the only remaining bidder for the company, but with the news of the collapse of Arcadia Group last week – the biggest concession stand operator across Debenhams stores – so too came the decision of JD Sports to terminate its talks of a takeover.

Debenhams slid into insolvency in April this year and has been on the search for a buyer since the summer. Without a buyer, the business faces going into liquidation or being wound down. This spring saw Debenhams axe 6,500 jobs. Its current predicament puts a further 12,000 at risk.