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Overseas bidders are leading the race to buy Topshop

Overseas bidders lead the race to buy Topshop: favorite of China and Americans to get Arcadia crown jewel

  • Topshop will fall into foreign ownership following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s High Street empire
  • Chinese fast fashion giant Shein and American investment company Authentic Brands seem to be competing
  • Arcadia fell under administration last month, putting 13,000 jobs at risk

Topshop will fall into foreign ownership following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s High Street empire.

Chinese fast fashion giant Shein and US investment company Authentic Brands seem to be competing to buy Topshop and sister company Topman from the administration after a bidding war.

They’ve already seen a rival bid from Next and are believed to be on pole position despite continued interest from Asos and Boohoo.

Supermodel: Kate Moss promotes Sir Philip Green's Topshop brand

Supermodel: Kate Moss promotes Sir Philip Green’s Topshop brand

Topshop is the crown jewel in the Arcadia business – which also includes Burton, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge – and is now being broken up.

Arcadia fell into government last month, putting 13,000 jobs at risk and shredding Green’s already tarnished reputation.

The administrators were looking for a buyer of the entire company, or the individual brands, with bids filed early this week. Plus-size women’s clothing brand Evans has already sold for £ 23 million.

Topshop and its 168 stores have a price tag of more than £ 300 million. Next has been unable to match the deep pockets of Shein and Authentic Brands, who want a trophy acquisition as a launch pad in the UK market.

Sources said Asos is still ‘very interested’ meaning there is a chance that Topshop will remain in British hands. Green bought Arcadia in 2002 for £ 850 million, and three years later handed a dividend of £ 1.2 billion to his wife Tina, who is the registered owner.

Topshop became the industry’s leading brand, hosting collections by Kate Moss, while Green became an advisor to David Cameron when he was prime minister. But Arcadia collapsed under the pressure of the pandemic after years of underinvestment and a failure to grow online – and Shein is believed to be in pole position to claim its most recognized brand.

Founded in 2008, Shein has become the largest online fashion brand in the world and is the third most visited fashion website in the UK after Next and Asos.

It has put fast fashion on steroids, hitting clothes within days at rock-bottom prices that ‘make Primark look expensive’. It sells 30,000 items a day in the UK, boosted by social media campaigns.

It will compete with Authentic Brands, which partnered with JD Sports on the offer. The American investment company has sucked up a string of victims in the United States, including Brooks Brothers, Forever 21 and Barneys, and was on the hunt for a British target.

Asos, an online-only merchant, has tried to grow its own brands, but believes Topshop would be a good match, in part because it already sells its products on its website and remains popular with over-20s.

Boohoo is also still in the running. Boss Mahmud Kamani could see Topshop as an asset to take the fast fashion retailer to High Street aristocracy. It raised a £ 200m war coffers from shareholders last year to buy brands that went bankrupt during the pandemic.

But the company’s recent series of acquisitions focused on bombed-out brands such as Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen, bought at rock-bottom prices.

“Boohoo are very good at bottom fishing,” said an insider. “I don’t think they know how to make money on something for which you had to pay a decent premium.”

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