Baugur founder Jon Asgeir Johannesson appeared on Icelandic television yesterday and admitted he would lose control of the retail investment group, which owns Mosaic Fashions and House of Fraser, if Sir Philip Green goes ahead with a deal to buy the retail group’s Icelandic debt.
According to The Financial Times, Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the Baugur founder and chairman said that a deal with Sir Philip Green even at “fire sales prices” would be the right thing for the government and Baugur employees. However he admitted that Sir Philip Green would gain power over the group and could force a restructuring.
The newspaper said Johannesson went on to say that doing a deal on the cheap was better than letting the British stores “fall one after the other”.
Baugur employs more than 55,000 people in the UK.
It emerged on Saturday that Sir Philip Green was in talks to buy up Baugur’s debt. Initial figures estimated that the deal could be worth between £1 billion and £2bn but Sir Philip Green is likely to buy the debt at a substantially discounted level.
Green, who has an estimated fortune of around £4.3bn, told The Times newspaper today that he was “willing and able” to help. Buying up Baugur’s £2bn debt, could give Green interests in UK businesses including House of Fraser, Oasis, Jane Norman, Whistles, Principles, Warehouse and Karen Millen.