Sir Philip Green close to deal over Arcadia pension deficit
Sir Philip Green is understood to be close to agreeing a deal with regulators to plug a hole in Arcadia Group’s pension fund, paving the way for a rescue restructure of his fashion retail empire.
An announcement could come as early as Tuesday afternoon. The move by the former billionaire follows a demand from the Pensions Regulator that he inject another £50m into the fund. This would come on top of a promise by Green and the company to put in £360m over three years.
It is unclear exactly how much extra Green has agreed to, but one source said he wanted to make a “squeaky clean” deal that could not be questioned in future.
Arcadia’s plan to cut rents and close stores via an insolvency procedure known as a company voluntary arrangement relies on reaching an agreement with the Pensions Regulator over funding of the retailer’s pension deficit of up to £750m.
As a major creditor, the fund will have a significant vote at a meeting on Wednesday that is required to secure the CVA and avert a collapse into administration for Arcadia, which would put 18,000 jobs at risk.
The group, which operates 570 shops from Topshop to Burton and Miss Selfridge, must win approval from 75% of its creditors, most of whom are landlords. The restructure will enable it to close at least 23 stores and cut rents by up to 70% on nearly 200 more.
A further 25 UK stores are set to close as Arcadia puts the property holding companies of Miss Selfridge and Evans into administration. It is also closing 11 Topshop stores in the US.
At this critical time…
… for our natural world, our societies and our media, The Guardian is committed to a different model for open, independent journalism – sustained through generous reader support. When progressive ideals are being challenged by those in power across the globe, we’re dedicated to investigating with courage and reporting with honesty. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.
The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.
Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.
We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable.