Sir Philip Green has written to MPs saying that he did not attempt to block the sale of BHS to Sports Direct’s owner, Mike Ashley.
Green, in a letter written on Wednesday to the joint select committee examining the collapse of BHS, said: “At a meeting on 27 April 2016 at Arcadia’s offices, Mr Ashley told the administrators of BHS that he wanted to buy the BHS business and that as part of his offer he would commit to keeping all the shops open and jobs in place until at least the end of 2016.
“The purchase would include buying all of the stock, for which Mr Ashley offered to pay £10m. This amount was not acceptable to the administrators. It appeared that £15m to close the deal would work and I therefore offered the additional £5m to try to help the business be sold as a going concern.
“The administrators agreed to meet again with Mr Ashley a week or so later to conclude the discussions. I was not involved in this next meeting, nor was anyone else from Arcadia. We were informed by the administrators that no acceptable offer was forthcoming from Sports Direct.
“The above can be confirmed by the administrators and can now put an end to the suggestion that I tried to block a sale of the business. In fact, I tried to support a sale.”
BHS entered administration just a few days before the 27 April meeting mentioned by Green.
In his eight-page letter, Green also detailed the £420.7m investment ploughed into BHS stores by Arcadia and, once it was sold, by Taveta. He clarified the content of meetings and phone calls around BHS’s sale to Retail Acquisitions and the various property deals in which Retail Acquisitions was involved.
Committee chair Frank Field said in response to Green’s letter and to evidence given by Taveta Investments: “Sir Philip is aware we are writing our report and is suddenly volunteering all manner of last minute assistance.”
Alongside evidence from Green and Taveta, the committee published letters from a number of witnesses including Retail Acquisitions’ Eddie Parladorio and Arcadia directors Brett Palos and Paul Budge.