JD Sports linked to Topshop bid by US retail giant

Peter Cowgill

Talks are taking place over the acquisition of the Topshop retail chain from administrators by US-based Authentic Brands Group, owner of the iconic New York department store Barneys and Forever 21, and Bury-based JD Sports Fashions.

According to Sky News, the US group has approached JD about running the business – part of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group – if its bid is successful.

In November last year JD was linked with a takeover approach for UK high street chain Debenhams, but pulled out after a lukewarm reaction from its shareholders.

The Greater Manchester group already has extensive interests in the US and executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, is said to have a good working relationship with Authentic chairman, Jamie Slater.

Last month JD extended its US portfolio when it announced that its wholly-owned intermediate holding company in the US, Genesis Holdings Inc, acquired 100% of both the issued shares in the Shoe Palace Corporation and the members’ interests in Nice Kicks LLC.

JD has not made any offer for Arcadia-related businesses, but sources say its role as an operating partner for an Authentic-owned Topshop is a credible prospect.

Arcadia Group went into administration on November 30, 2020, placing 13,000 jobs at risk.

Deloitte is handling the Arcadia insolvency and is seeking to complete the process over the coming weeks.

High street retail chain Next is believed to be circling Arcadia.

Donald Trump’s tie-maker, G-III Apparel, is reportedly another interested party, while Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley and Manchester-based Boohoo Group, could also table offers.

Womenswear brand, Evans, has already been sold to Australian group City Chic, and several other parties are said to be interested in labels such as Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge.

JD Sports has declined to comment.