Former owner of womenswear fashion brands Jaeger and Aquascutum Harold Tillman is holding talks with Lloyds Bank to resolve a six-year war of words over who is to blame for the collapse of his fashion empire, The Times has reported.
Tillman has accused Lloyds of driving Jaegar and Aquascutum into the ground, but to prevent a costly legal battle he has agreed to a three-month stay on proceedings he launched in May.
It is understood that Lloyds’ lawyers and Tillman have discussed reaching an out-of-court settlement.
The Times has reported that separately Tillman has issued a legal claim against private equity firm Better Capital, run by the financier Jon Moulton. The lawsuit concerns the deal by Lloyds in 2012 to sell Jaeger’s £16m of debt to Better Capital.
The veteran retailer claimed this deal was sprung on his business without warning and that he was not offered a chance to finance the debt himself. Lloyds and Better Capital maintain that there was a “very clear risk” that the business would fail.
In a statement, a Lloyds Bank spokesman said: “As the matter is now subject to anticipated legal action, it would not be appropriate to comment further other than to say that we believe there to be no merit in the allegations and if litigation is commenced it will be contested vigorously.
“When Jaeger Group introduced Better Capital to Lloyds Banking Group in early 2012 as a potential investor in the business, the company was under clear financial pressure, having told the bank that it would not be able to make its upcoming quarterly rental payments. With an associated Group company receiving a winding up petition, there was a very clear risk that the business would fail in 2012 with hundreds of jobs possibly lost as a result.”