Philip Green's potential bid for M&S would dwarf nearly all previous retail deals. So how do the numbers stack up?
Green is understood to be able to stump up£600 million. He may well also plan to raise money from the sale and leaseback of property and the sale of M&S's financial services arm. These have an estimated combined value of£4.35 billion, including debt of£1.3 billion within financial services.
HBOS (which was involved in Green's takeover of both Bhs and Arcadia), Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays Capital have all provisionally agreed loans. Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch will underwrite an equity element, which would come from an immediate flotation of a refinanced M&S and take the total to£9 billion. There is also debt of approximately£2 billion within the balance sheet.
CSFB retail analyst Nathan Cockrell said: 'He's been careful not to let anything out of the bag (about the financial structure of the deal) but, at the end of the day, he will need to find billions from somewhere.'
Cockrell pointed out the contradiction in the possible deal: Green will not overpay. His line to creditors would be that he is paying less than the company is worth. However, he will have to convince investors that they are also getting a fair deal, when the share price is already above 350p.