Key advisers on the £1 sale of BHS are being asked to reveal their fees

Hayley Kirton
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Grant Thornton and Olswang have been asked to spill the details on their fees (Source: Getty)

The two key advisers on the BHS sale to Retail Acquisitions have today been asked to reveal their fees.

The Work and Pensions select committee, which is overseeing one of the two inquiries currently examining the BHS fiasco, has written to representatives from accountancy firm Grant Thornton and law firm Olswang for more details on how much they were paid in respect of their work on the sale of the high street retailer, which was sold for £1 last year.

Mark Byers, partner at Grant Thornton, and Stephen Hermer, general counsel for Olswang, are also being asked for details on what due diligence work their firms perform to suss out the source of the money they receive as fees.

In addition, Hermer is being asked to clarify what steps his firm took to find out how Retail Acquisitions had raised £35m put into an escrow fund with Olswang.

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Both Byers and Hermer gave evidence to the select committee hearing last week, during which Byers remarked that BHS had to be sold away from the Arcadia Group to give it chance at renegotiating its payments on leases and, therefore, a shot at survival.

Meanwhile, Hermer said that his firm had discovered details of one of Dominic Chappell's bankruptcies during its due diligence work. Chappell is Retail Acquisition's largest shareholder.

It has previously been reported that Grant Thornton pocketed £4.4m for the 13 months' work it carried out on the sale, while Olswang took home £3.7m.

Grant Thornton was yet to reply to City A.M.'s request for comment at time of publication, while Olswang has declined to comment.

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The Work and Pensions committee also today wrote letters to the Pensions Regulator, requesting more details of the proposed recovery plan for the BHS pension scheme, and to Alexander and Guy Dellal, inviting them to give evidence on loans issued by their company, Allied Commercial Exporters, to Retail Acquisitions.

Chappell and Sir Philip Green are also due to give evidence to MPs later this month.

BHS collapsed into administration last month, with a pension scheme deficit worth £571m. The administration places around 11,000 jobs at risk and pushed the manufacturer of Pretty Polly tights into administration as well.

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