Fashion group New Look is considering debt restructuring options and is expected to appoint an advisor within weeks, it is understood.
According to the Financial Times, the business’ chairman Alistair McGeorge and founder Tom Singh, who owns a quarter of the value retailer, are considering restructuring options for a debt pile of £1bn.
These could include putting more money into the business or buying some of the stakes owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira.
New Look’s debt includes payment-kind-notes, a loan where interest rolls up and is paid in a lump sum at the end of the term. This is now thought to have swelled to more than £700m.
The company was taken private by Singh in April 2004 for £698.7m with the backing of Apax Partners and Permira.
In July 2005, the original £485m LBO debt arranged by CSFB, HSBC and HVB was refinanced with a £750m senior, second line and mezzanine package with HSBC, HVB, Citigroup, RBS and Mizuho as MLAs.
New Look’s creative director Barbara Horspool was the latest high profile name to leave the business in the last fortnight, followed by the retailer’s heads of buying and merchandising.
Head of buying Nicky Wills and head of merchandising for womenswear David Barton have also left the business.
Horspool, who was lured back to New Look last year by founder Tom Singh, left following the end of her 12 month contract and is not expected to be replaced.
It is thought that McGeorge is putting the appointment of a chief executive on hold until after the debt restructuring is dealt with.