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.