By James Davey and Anjuli Davies
LONDON Dec 4 British retail billionaire Philip
Green is in advanced talks with a U.S. private equity firm over
the sale of a 25 percent stake in high street chain Topshop and
Topman, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sky News reported that Los Angeles,
California-based Leonard Green & Partners LP was in talks to buy
a stake in Topshop and Topman, valuing the two chains at close
to 1 billion pounds ($1.61 billion).
The stake would be ringfenced from Philip Green's larger
Arcadia Group, which includes high street names such as BHS,
Burton and Miss Selfridge. An announcement could come as soon as
Thursday, the source told Reuters.
Philip Green declined to comment while Leonard Green did not
respond to a request for comment.
Leonard Green is the owner of U.S. retailer J Crew alongside
private equity titan TPG Capital LP. TPG and Leonard Green
bought J Crew in 2010 in a deal valued at about $3 billion.
British retailers are mostly struggling as consumers hold
back spending in the face of job insecurity, rising prices,
subdued wage growth and government austerity measures.
Arcadia posted a 25 percent year-on-year rise in underlying
profit to 166.9 million pounds ($269 million) in the year to
Arcadia's total sales from about 2,500 UK stores and 615
franchised outlets in 39 countries were flat at 2.68 billion
Monaco-based Philip Green, who was knighted in 2006, bought
department store chain BHS for 200 million pounds in 2000,
Arcadia for 850 million pounds in 2002 and has twice tried and
failed to buy Marks & Spencer.
In an interview with Reuters in November he said he was not
averse to doing another major deal if the right one crossed his
Green's family ranked 17th on the 2012 Sunday Times UK rich
list with an estimated fortune of 3.3 billion pounds.