New owners prepare for Matalan takeover as founder's final bid fails
Matalan founder John Hargreaves has failed in his bid to regain control of the indebted fashion and lifestyle retailer he created in 1989, according to a report at the weekend.
His fate was sealed as a group of the company’s lenders agreed a debt for equity swap. That move — which had been expected — comes after a sale process that began last autumn but failed to produce any acceptable bids.
Matalan is now scheduled to announce “early Monday” that lenders Invesco, Man GLG, Tresidor and Napier Park have gained control of the UK retailer, The Sunday Times reported, and our sources suggest the story is correct.
But the report said the lenders are also planning talks with unsuccessful bidders about a potential minority investment in the business.
In exchange for taking ownership, the lenders will reduce their outstanding debts by £150 million to £200 million and commit to providing £100 million of fresh equity. Overall the deal should reduce Matalan’s gross debt by £260 million to £335 million.
They’ve believed to have held talks with interim chief executive Nigel Oddy’s role about his role becoming permanent and are also seeking to appoint a new chairman.
The deal marks the end of Hargreaves’ battle to regain control after returning to the business in July after a 15-year gap, stepping in as executive chair.
He’d teamed up with Elliott Advisors on his own rescue bid, hoping his detailed knowledge of the business, and the fact that his family owns the company that provides Matalan’s IT platform, would have boosted his auction chances. But, ultimately, it looks as if he’s paid the price for the firm’s heavy debt load with the senior lenders being in the driving seat.
There’s further bad news for him and his family too with the report saying won’t get back tens of million in loans he made to the retailer.
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