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Baugur intent on Moss Bros acquisition

Icelandic retail group Baugur was planning to buy menswear chain Moss Bros at the end of the month, despite approaches from other suitors to buy the Icelandic group's 29% stake.

Chairman Jón sgeir Jóhannesson said due diligence was continuing on the menswear chain and he was "in the mood" to buy the company rather than sell the 28.75% stake he controls to another investor.

"People have called us to ask about the possibility we will sell," he said. But he added that it would only happen "for a good price". Baugur has submitted an indicative offer of 42p a share, or £40m, for Moss Bros.

Baugur predicted that up to 15% of its sales will come from online in the next two years, at the World Retail Congress yesterday.

Executive chairman told a private-equity themed event at the WRC: "We strongly believe it’s going to be a big part of our business quite soon".

He revealed that young fashion chain Warehouse was already making 45% of its sales online and that internet sales at the rest of the group's fashion retail interests, which include Karen Millen and House of Fraser, was increasing by 3-4%.

Separately, Moss Bros said that chairman Keith Hamill will defer his retirement until Baugur completes due diligence. He was due to step down yesterday.

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