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Asos in ‘exclusive talks’ to snap up Topshop, other Arcadia brands

By Huw Hughes

Jan. 25, 2021

Business

Asos has confirmed it has joined the race to acquire brands from collapsed retail empire Arcadia.

The British e-tailer said Monday it has entered exclusive talks with the administrators of Arcadia over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.

Rival British Fashion retailer Next, which was earlier thought to be the frontrunner in the race to acquire Arcadia’s assets, pulled out of the bidding last week.

A consortium comprising Next and US investment firm Davidson Kempner Capital Management were teaming up on a potential offer but withdrew after not meeting the price expectations of the vendor.

Other bidders thought to still be in the race to acquire Arcadia’s assets are Boohoo, Frasers Group and Authentic Brands Group, which has linked up with JD Sports Fashion.

The auction is expected to be concluded by the end of January after final bids were submitted last Monday.

Asos in Topshop bidding war

An Asos spokesperson said in a statement: “The board believes this would represent a compelling opportunity to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base. However, at this stage, there can be no certainty of a transaction and Asos will keep shareholders updated as appropriate. Any acquisition would be funded from cash reserves.”

If Asos does make the acquisition, it is thought it could result in mass job losses, as Asos is an online-exclusive business with no need for in-store staff.

Arcadia called in administrators from Deloitte at the end of November after its sales took a big hit from the pandemic, putting some 13,000 jobs at risk.

The group had around 444 UK stores at the time.

Last week it emerged that administrators of Arcadia would permanently close 31 of the group’s stores by the end of January, resulting in some 714 redundancies. The closing stores include the entire 21-store estate of Arcadia’s Outfit brand, The Times reported.

In January, Arcadia’s administrators sold the Evans brand, e-commerce and wholesale business to rival City Chic Collective Limited for a cash consideration of approximately 23 million pounds.

Photo credit: Asos website