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BHS inquiry: ‘Question mark’ over Chappell's business acumen, say advisers

MPs were told that there was a “question mark” over Dominic Chappell’s business knowledge before his company, Retail Acquisitions, bought BHS for £1 in March 2015. 

Stephen Hermer, partner at law firm Olswang

Stephen Hermer, partner at law firm Olswang

Stephen Hermer, partner at City law firm Olswang, which advised Chappell on the purchase of BHS, was giving evidence this morning to the business, innovation and skills committee, and the work and pensions committee in their joint inquiry into the sale of the department store chain and its subsequent collapse into administration.

“There was clearly a question mark over Chappell’s business acumen and a judgement call needed to be made,” Hermer said.

He added that the fact Chappell was previously bankrupt did not disqualify him from making an acquisition.

Senior executives from Arcadia Group told parliament on Monday (May 23) that the willingness of Olswang and accountancy firm Grant Thornton to advise Chappell played a key part in persuading Arcadia he was a credible buyer.

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