Green denies involvement in debt purchase
The future of department store groupAlldershasbeen thrown wide open.

The sale of Allders' debt on Wednesdayafternoon,toa company owned by residents of Monaco, prompted speculation that retail tycoon Philip Green may be involved in trying to buy the business. However, Green categorically denied any connection with the deal.

The news that Allders' principal lender, Lehman Brothers, had sold its debt to Epsilon Investments, a mysterious company whose 'ultimate shareholders are each stated to be residents of Monaco', fuelled speculation about Allders' future.

The retailer was put up for sale by Minerva in December. The debt sale is understood to have caught the property company by surprise because it had expected to conduct a joint sale of Allders with Lehman Brothers. It is understood that the debt was sold below face value.

The purchase of the debt will have put the buyer in a strong position at the negotiating table as Allders' future unfolds. Allders boss Terry Green has been trying to win backing for a bid and as late as this week was making presentations to potential backers.

Minerva said it would 'extend its current loans to the Group subject only to the other principal lenders following suit.'