Sir Philip Green reportedly asked HSBC to help him find a buyer for Arcadia Group, a leaked email indicates.
The email, written by a HSBC managing director David Barraclough, seen by The Sunday Times, details how Green discussed plans to sell the business over dinner with Barraclough and HSBC UK chief executive Ian Stuart in February 2016.
In the email Barraclough said the meeting had been organised to discuss succession at Arcadia as neither of Green’s children were likely to take over his role as chairman.
Last week Green denied reports that he is planning to sell all or part of Arcadia.
The Sunday Times had mooted that Chinese textiles giant Shandong Ruyi, which is based in Jining in northern China, has held discussions and looked at the books at Arcadia.
However, Green stated the article was “totally false”.
A statement from Arcadia said: “Neither Sir Philip nor any of the directors of Arcadia have ever met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi, and they have never been to the Arcadia offices as was suggested to look at the Company’s books. We have the greatest respect for them as an organisation, but have had no dealings or contact with them.
“There are further statements in the article that discussions have taken place with HSBC. These are also totally untrue. Additionally, there is no truth in the suggestion that the company ‘has been seeking a buyer for some time’.”