All Saints on the verge of buyout deal

FASHION chain All Saints was on the verge of being sold to US private equity house Goode Partners last night, despite an audacious eleventh hour bid by British venture capital veteran Jon Moulton, the chief executive of the firm told City A.M.

“I think the deal is imminent,” said Stephen Craig.

“Goode will be a partner who will help us to grow and develop internationally. I’m incredibly excited about working with them.”

The retail boss was in deal talks late into the night, which looked set to land Goode Partners and a consortium of bidders All Saints for more than £100m.

The US firm is believed to be the lead partner alongside British private equity house Lion Capital on the bid.

Yet Moulton, founder of Better Capital, revealed he had entered the fray to rescue the struggling retail chain, which requires an emergency capital injection to save it from administration.

“We’ve arrived but maybe a bit late in the day,” Moulton told City A.M. yesterday.

The veteran investor has been looking at All Saints’ books over the past few days, although is believed to have lost out to the Goode Partners offer.

All Saints was put on the block after majority shareholders Kaupthing and Glitnir, the Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis, were forced to sell their assets by administrators.

The Icelandic banks could pressure the deal, as they seek to recoup the maximum amount for their investment – posing a potential stumbling block for any buyer.

There had also been suggestions that the retailer’s main lender, Lloyds Banking Group, would place the retailer into administration should a buyer not be found. The bank is said to have put liquidator KPMG on standby.