Debenhams: ripe for another beating?

Baugur, the Icelandic buy-out firm, has upped its stake in Debenhams to 11%, prompting rumours that it may be lining up a bid for the ailing retailer. Poor old Debenhams. It has become the corporate equivalent of a person who innocently wandered into the wrong part of town and is now suffering the consequences.

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

It has already taken one good kicking from private-equity, having been taken private and roughed up by a consortium of TPG, CVC Capital Partners and Merrill Lynch. Last year, the consortium pushed it back into the public arena and wandered off counting the cash (three times more than the £600m of equity it had invested).

Meanwhile Debenhams was left nursing a tumbling share price, profit warnings, job losses and regular ‘sale' signs in its stores' windows. Now there are fears it may be in line for similar treatment from Baugur, an outfit that has a reputation for buying cheap and selling on. Baugur is one of the foremost protagonists of the Icelandic invasion of UK business, which has seen elements from the tiny nation making typically brash raids on the UK high street. We wait to see what happens...

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