US investor sells Topshop stake back to Arcadia, but retains links
The seven-year-old £350 million deal had been intended to make the British fashion chain a major player in the American market. At the time, it valued the Arcadia group at around £2 billion. But with only around 15 stores opened in the ensuing seven years, it reflected the wider problems that Arcadia has seen in its international operations.
Leonard Green, which also backs J Crew and Pure Gym, sold its stake for an undisclosed sum but has the option to pick up where it left off later.
The private equity firm said: “The transfer simplifies the shareholding structure of Topshop Topman and enables the Arcadia board 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.”
Adam Levyn and Jonathan Sokoloff, two Leonard Green directors, resigned from Arcadia’s board last week, suggesting that it might be about to exit the deal.
It has been widely reported that Arcadia wants to close some of its stores as part of a wider restructuring and may also enter a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). It has already exited some international operations but it’s unclear just how far its retreat from its global business will go and what this would mean for the Topshop chain in the US market.
The company operates almost 1,200 stores for its Topshop/Topman, Miss Seldfridge, Wallis, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Evans chains in 36 countries and sales overseas fell almost 20% in its last reported year (2017).
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