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Philip Green's Arcadia empire is on the brink of collapse in HOURS as 13,000 employees lose their jobs


The group behind the big brands like Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins could collapse within a few hours – 13,000 employees face the loss of their jobs.

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia group is expected to join the administration today. Older insiders say no last minute bailout contract is expected.

This is despite a £ 50m loan offer from billionaire rival and owner of Newcastle Football Club, Mike Ashley.

Mr Ashley's Frasers Group wrote to Arcadia on Sunday that they would offer an emergency loan to help with the group's short-term cash flow problems.

However, insiders reportedly told the BBC that Arcadia was "impossible to rescue" even with a £ 50m loan.

Meanwhile, former City Secretary Baron Paul Myners slammed Sir Philip in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today Program today – describing the businessman as "probably the rudest businessman" he had ever met.

He said, “Covid was obviously a major factor, but the truth is this group of brands has been bleeding for 15 years.

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia group, which also includes Topshop, is expected to join the administration today. Older insiders say no last minute bailout contract is expected

The group behind the big brands like Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins (picture) could collapse within a few hours - 13,000 employees are facing the loss of their jobs

The group behind the big brands like Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins (picture) could collapse within a few hours – 13,000 employees are facing the loss of their jobs

Meanwhile, former City Secretary Baron Paul Myners slammed Sir Philip today in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today Program

Meanwhile, former City Secretary Baron Paul Myners slammed Sir Philip today in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today Program

The directors of M&S are discussing the possibility of buying the menswear brand Austin Reed together with its sister label Jaeger

The directors of Marks & Spencer have met over the past few days to discuss the possibility of buying menswear brand Austin Reed along with its sister label Jaeger, The Mail was able to show on Sunday.

The discussion should include the purchase of the Jacques Vert wedding and special occasion brand. All three are part of the former Edinburgh Woolen Mill empire of retail mogul Philip Day.

At the front of the queue: Marks & Spencer reportedly in pole position to buy Austin Reed, Jaeger and Jacques Vert

At the front of the queue: Marks & Spencer reportedly in pole position to buy Austin Reed, Jaeger and Jacques Vert

The group, which included Peacocks and Ponden Home, collapsed when painful closings hit the main streets earlier this month just weeks before Christmas.

City says Marks & Spencer will be in "pole position" to buy the three brands it would operate as a subsidiary with separate design teams if successful.

Next and sportswear mogul Mike Ashley were also named as potential buyers.

City sources also speculated last night that Marks & Spencer might consider an offer for some of Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group brands. Administrators are expected to be appointed this week.

A city source advocated a possible M&S acquisition of Topshop as a "great idea".

& # 39; It has been underinvested, it has lost market share, it has become irrelevant.

& # 39; Sir Philip Green never really anticipated the opportunity or challenge of online trading. He never really invested in that area.

& # 39; The truth is that Philip Green is not a retailer. He is a man whose place is owned and leverage. He is what we might have called a stripper in the 1970s.

“He doesn't invest in his business, he milks them. He takes out high rents and large dividends instead of investing them.

He also criticized Sir Philip for "not putting enough money into pension funds", but praised that he had previously "moved up" in a similar situation with BHS.

“He's probably the rudest person with the worst mouth I've ever met in the business. He was a memorable man for that, if nothing else. & # 39;

But when asked if he liked it, he said, “I actually did it. There is one element of Philip that can only be enjoyed, he had a very keen brain. & # 39;

Sir Philip's Arcadia Group, owned by his wife Tina, is expected to call in administrators this morning to put the future of up to 500 stores and 13,000 jobs at risk.

It comes after sportswear tycoon Mike Ashley made an extraordinary £ 50 million loan offer to save the Topshop empire from collapse.

In a dramatic intervention Saturday, Sports Direct and the owner of House of Fraser, Mr. Ashley, offered an "emergency loan" to surprise Arcadia by Christmas.

However, his offer was angrily dismissed as a "publicity stunt" by sources close to Sir Philip, who was seen relaxed yesterday in Monaco where he is holding a £ 100 million yacht.

One said, "Sir Philip is not interested in jumping into bed with a Chancellor like Mike Ashley."

Monaco-based Sir Philip, 68, and Mr. Ashley – known in his inner circle as "Masher" – are former friends, but tensions between the two have increased as their rivalry intensified on Main Street.

The offer of a loan from a major retail competitor has been called "provocative" by city sources and is likely to irritate Sir Philip, a flamboyant businessman who was once dubbed the "King of the High Street".

Friends said last night Sir Philip and his family were "deeply saddened" by Arcadia's death, and one said the loan offer was being turned down because no more than Mr Ashley were "having some fun".

Sir Philip, whose apparel empire includes Dorothy Perkins, Burton and other brands, has suffered a spectacular reputational loss since selling BHS to serial bankruptcy administrator Dominic Chappell for just £ 1 in 2015. A year later, BHS went bankrupt.

Like other retailers, Arcadia has suffered a devastating blow from the November lockdown as a crucial trade was missed in the run-up to Christmas and Sir Philip has tried unsuccessfully for the past few weeks to obtain a £ 30m loan to to keep the business alive.

The £ 50 million touted yesterday by Mr Ashley is contingent on Arcadia guaranteeing the money against corporate assets such as its real estate.

But city sources said this made the loan "impracticable" – and could even unwittingly put Mr Ashley in control of the entire fashion group in the unlikely event it did.

One said Mr. Ashley appeared to be "playing games" by offering the credit. "You might as well have Arcadia and all of its businesses on one plate for Mike Ashley," said a bankruptcy expert.

Monaco-based Sir Philip, 68, and Mr. Ashley - known in his inner circle as "Masher" - are former friends, but tensions between the two have increased as their rivalry intensified on Main Street

Monaco-based Sir Philip, 68, and Mr. Ashley – known in his inner circle as "Masher" – are former friends, but tensions between the two have increased as their rivalry intensified on Main Street

In a dramatic intervention yesterday, Mike Ashley (pictured), owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, offered an "emergency loan" to surprise Arcadia until Christmas

In a dramatic intervention yesterday, Mike Ashley (pictured), owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, offered an "emergency loan" to surprise Arcadia until Christmas

The Arcadia pension system has a deficit of £ 350 million. Lady Green will provide £ 50 million to revitalize the company and its pension fund.

Part of the remaining deficit can be secured against Arcadia's property, such as the huge TopShop on London's Oxford Street.

As the value of the real estate portfolio declines in the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult for Arcadia to obtain loans from its bankers.

Mr Ashley previously made a similar offer for the troubled Debenhams department store business.

Mr Ashley's chief financial officer spoke publicly on Sky News yesterday to make the offer to Sir Philip. He said one of his directors "needs to contact us today to discuss how we can support them and help save as many jobs as possible".

But when The Mail went to press on Sunday last night, no talks appeared to have taken place and the company still appeared to collapse early next week.

Arcadia is expected to start trading by Christmas, and there are likely to be limited layoffs in stores before January.

Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle Football Club, is expected to be among the bidders for the group's brands when the company is wound up and sold in the New Year.

City sources named Marks & Spencer, Next and Boohoo as other potential bidders.

Sunday's mail also revealed that Mr Ashley has separately expressed an interest in purchasing the gigantic Trafford Center shopping mall in Manchester to expand his empire.

Arcadia, which refused to comment last night, said in a statement on Friday, "Our stores will reopen in England and Ireland as soon as state Covid-19 restrictions are lifted next week."

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