BHS liquidation rumours dismissed: Sale expected "early next week"


BHS entered administration last month (Source: Getty)

A sale of BHS as a going concern could be revealed as early as next week - but there are still concerns that the iconic retailer may end up being liquidated. 

A source close to the situation has told City A.M. that bids are still being mulled and it is hoped BHS will be sold as a going concern. 

Matalan founder John Hargreaves and Select Fashions owner Cafer Mahiroglu are thought to be first in the running to snap the business up. They entered a joint offer of between £60m and £75m for the business, which was sold for £1 to Retail Acquisitions last year. The sum is thought to include £40-50m of unsold stock.

But restructuring specialist Hilco Capital - which owns HMV among others - has also been named prompting speculation that a possible liquidation could be on the cards. Offers including that from Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley understood to have been dismissed as too low.

Other restructuring firms including Brantano owner Alteri Investors and Gordon Brothers are also understood to be interested in buying parts of the business piecemeal. Sports Direct's property boss - and boyfriend of Mike Ashley's daughter - Michael Murry has reportedly been in talks with landlords about buying specific sites. 

But one source insisted that a sale was the most likely option, saying liquidators were assessing the value of BHS as a matter of course. 

A second source told City A.M. there was still time left for the venerable high street name.

"The administrator needs market assessments of the value of the assets before putting the going concern offers to creditors," he said. 

The retailer, which had been previously owned by Sir Philip Green, entered administration last month, putting almost 11,000 jobs at risk. Green has since faced pressure to answer questions over the towering £571m pension deficit.

Administrators Duff & Phelps did not respond to requests for a comment.