Baugur to bring in equity partners

Baugur Group, the Icelandic retail and real estate investment company that has already bought Hamleys, Julian Graves and Oasis, is to bring equity partners in on future deals.

President and chief executive Jon Asgeir Johannesson said Baugur aims to own a total of five UK retail businesses. However, he said the financial structure of deals was changing.

'There are people wanting to co-invest and we are exploring opportunities now. In future it will be more that structure, with Baugur leading the equity.

'What is happening is that it is easier to get equity partners on board. That means we can go after bigger deals.'

Cash would come from a mix of partners, including private equity houses and 'individuals with an appetite to invest'.

Johannesson said: 'We will lead the deals. They (co-investors) believe Baugur can choose the right investment and will get the returns. There are a lot of people out there who want to be a non-active equity partner.'

Baugur is understood to be in discussions with potential UK equity partners about a deal in the near future.

Baugur has been linked to fashion house Karen Millen, but Johannesson refused to comment. However, Karen Millen would fit with Baugur's stated aim of expanding Oasis to a three- or four-brand umbrella business.

According to one source, the deal is imminent.