* Leonard Green & Partners pays 350 mln stg for 25 pct stake
* Green says deal values Topshop/Topman at 2 bln stg
* LGP investment locked in for 5 years
* Green says Arcadia Group now debt free
By James Davey
LONDON, Dec 6 British retail billionaire Philip
Green has sold a 25 percent stake in Topshop and Topman to a
U.S. private equity firm for 350 million pounds ($563 million)
to help accelerate the chains' overseas expansion.
Monaco-based Green's Arcadia Group said on Thursday the
stake had been sold to Leonard Green & Partners (LGP) following
a courtship lasting several months.
Green told Reuters LGP was paying the money for the quarter
interest in the newly formed entity TOPSHOP/TOPMAN Limited,
which is able draw on 600 million pounds of debt - but has not
"We've received 350 million pounds and we can draw another
600 million pounds ... We don't need that money today," he said,
adding the two parties valued the new entity at 2 billion
The deal is Green's most significant since he failed for a
second time to buy Marks & Spencer in 2004.
LGP, whose other investments include U.S. fashion retailer J
Crew and department store chain Neiman Marcus, would not be
involved in the management of Topshop and Topman.
"They're totally hands off, they're a financial investor,
will help us with anything we want help with. They know the
American market, know all the people we need to know," said
"Everybody's always saying what a graveyard America is for
British retailers. They've been exceptionally successful and
they said 'we'll buy a corner and we'll help you develop'."
Green said LGP's investment was locked in for a minimum of
He declined to comment on what the private equity firm's
exit strategy might be. "This is day one of the romance," he
The funds received from LGP mean Arcadia, which also owns
Bhs, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans,
is now debt free, having ended its 2011-12 year with debt of 309
"Being debt free gives us the balance sheet and flexibility
to look at other opportunities to consolidate or acquire, either
on our own or in partnership with LGP," it said.
Green bought department store chain Bhs for 200 million
pounds in 2000 and Arcadia (including Topman and Topshop) for
850 million pounds in 2002.
He has said he is not averse to doing another major deal if
the right one crossed his table.
Last month Arcadia reported a 25 percent rise in 2011-12