Sir Philip Green came under pressure to sell BHS from US firm Leonard Green, which bought a 25% stake in Topshop in 2012, according to new written evidence submitted to MPs.
LEK, which was advising Paul Sutton on his bid for BHS, said Sutton told the firm Green was under pressure to sell the chain to focus on Topshop.
Consultancy firm LEK said: “According to Mr Sutton, Sir Philip’s American backers had supported him on the condition that he exit his other retail activities, to focus on driving international expansion of the core Topshop brands.”
However Sutton denied this at a select committee hearing yesterday, saying it was incorrect.
“Obviously the business was losing money, whether he kept it or sold it I don’t think it made the slightest difference to Topshop,” he said. “We wanted to bring in a top class retailer to turn BHS around. As far as the Topshop and Topman brands are concerned, what that has to do with BHS I don’t know.”
Green has been in negotiations with the Pensions Regulator about BHS’s £571m pension deficit, Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions select committee revealed yesterday.