Baugur boss Jón sgeir Jóhannesson has hit out at creditors after the Icelandic investor was forced to seek protection from administration yesterday.
On Icelandic television and online, the head of the fallen retail empire lambasted state-controlled Icelandic bank Landsbanki for pulling its support from the investor, as revealed exclusively online by Retail Week yesterday.
“This is a kick in the balls from Landsbanki,” he said.
Jóhannesson accused the bank, which collapsed in to administration itself in October, of serving up Baugur’s assets – which include stakes in Hamleys, House of Fraser, Aurum and Iceland – to “British vultures”.
He said: “I expect…these good assets abroad now will wind up in the hands of British vultures, who will probably get all of this for a very low price or nothing at all.”
In a separate interview, he said: “I’m sure that [Sir] Philip Green is dancing a war dance in his living room now because now he will become a large owner of our companies for virtually nothing.”
Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green said that he had not been offered any of Baugur’s assets, but would look at them if offered to him. “We have finance available to buy things,” he said.
Private equity group Alchemy boss Jon Moulton also expressed an interested in Baugur’s assets.
Private equity fund TPG has looked at the assets in the months since Baugur’s debt fell into the hands of the creditors to the Icelandic banks Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki.
Baugur also has stakes in Debenhams, French Connection, Mosaic, All Saints, Jane Norman and Whistles.