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ASOS confirms ‘exclusive’ talks to land Arcadia’s Top brands

Written by on 25/01/2021

ASOS has said it is in pole position to snap up the most valuable brands, including TopShop, within Sir Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia empire.

The online fashion retailer issued a short statement to the City on Monday morning to announce it was in “exclusive” talks with administrators after Sky News revealed details on Saturday.

The development was confirmed moments after rival Boohoo said it was to relaunch Debenhams as an online-only operation after snapping up the brand for £55m.

Rails filled with unsold coats block the view of the stock clearance as mannequins are left naked upstairs
Image: The fate of Arcadia’s 444 sites is yet to be confirmed

Any deal involving ASOS for Arcadia’s big names, including TopMan, TopShop, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, would also likely result in all stores facing closure and redundancy for most of the 13,000 staff as high streets remain in hibernation from COVID-19 disruption.

While the fate of Arcadia’s 444 UK sites is yet to be confirmed, store-based chains are unattractive to buyers given huge running costs alongside the current risks to trading.

Online retail has benefited hugely from lockdowns and restrictions since last March and both ASOS and Boohoo have recorded bumper sales growth as a result.

The former said on Monday: “ASOS plc notes recent media speculation and confirms that it is in exclusive discussions with the administrators of Arcadia over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.

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“The board believes this would represent a compelling opportunity to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base.

“However, at this stage, there can be no certainty of a transaction and ASOS will keep shareholders updated as appropriate. Any acquisition would be funded from cash reserves.”

ASOS shares were 3.4% up when the stock market opened on Monday.

Sky News reported last week how Next and other potential suitors, including a Chinese group, fell by the wayside during the auction process run by administrators from Deloitte.

They are expected to publish a list of creditors by the close of business on Monday as part of insolvency laws,
showing just how much debt was owed by Arcadia.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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