Sir Philip Green in Baugur buy-out talks

Topshop tycoon considers a £2billion bid to buy troubled retail group Baugur, owners of Hamleys.
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Green has flown to Iceland to discuss his possible investment in the beleaguered retail group Baugur, following the Icelandic firm’s banking crisis, which has led to its assets being frozen.

Sir Philip is keen to acquire a big share in the group and could invest up to £2billion in the company, according to the Financial Times.

He flew into Reykjavik on Friday with Baugar chairman Jon Asgeir Johannesson, where they joined chief executive of Baugur, Gunnar Sigurdsson.

Sir Philip told the Financial Times he was in talks with Johannesson and Sigurdsson to buy all the debt held by the firm in the collapsed Icelandic banks, which is reported to be between £1bn and £2bn.

Green said: 'All the assets have been frozen. I don’t want any of these businesses to fall over, nor does Jon, nor does Gunnar.'

Meanwhile, Hamleys has issued a statement to confirm that as a stand alone company, its assets have not been frozen.

The statement said: "Hamleys has Icelandic shareholders but is a separate legal entity and is not a subsidiary of Baugur. Any change in the ownership structure of shareholders has no direct impact on Hamleys' ability to trade effectively.

"Hamleys has no current or future funding requirement from its shareholders. Furthermore, Hamleys has no banking, funding or other ties with any Icelandic banks; Hamleys banking is solely with a major UK bank.

"Hamleys would also like to clarify that is has not had its assets frozen, as has been inaccurately suggested in the media."

The statement concluded: "Hamleys continues to perform strongly, with positive year-on-year growth, and has exciting expansion plans in place for the future."

Baugur has insisted the whole group isn’t for sale, but Green stands to gain a powerful position in the company if the deal goes through.

Baugur owns a host of famous British high street brands, including House of Fraser, Hamleys, Oasis, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Principles and the Iceland supermarket chain.

Source: Financial Times

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