Debenhams in call

High street retailer Debenhams yesterday announced plans for a &pound;323m fundraising to fulfill chief executive Rob Templeman&rsquo;s plan to take its debt &ldquo;off the agenda.&rdquo;<br /><br />Debenham&rsquo;s &pound;900m debt mountain has cast a long shadow over the group&rsquo;s trading ever since private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and CVC Capital Partners floated the business on the stock exchange in 2006, after taking it private in 2003 and saddling it with &pound;1bn of debt. <br /><br />Neither TPG nor CVC will be buying shares in the placing, reducing their 12.8 per cent and nine per cent stake respectively. <br /><br />Both CVC and Texas Pacific Group will also give up their seats on the board.<br /><br />About 40 per cent of the new shares were sold directly to investors. And buyers have been lined up for the remaining 60 per cent should existing shareholders not exercise rights to purchase the stock.<br /><br />The fundraising has been well-flagged by the market and Debenhams wanted to act on the share price recovery following a resilient trading update. <br /><strong><br />ADVISER:<br />WILLIAM RUCKER<br />CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF LAZARDS</strong><br />Debenhams appointed Lazard in January to sound out ways to tackle the group&rsquo;s debt. Chief executive, William Rucker as well as Paul Gismondi and&nbsp; Michael Grayer all acted as team advisers. Merrill Lynch and Citi were called on, after originally working on the group&rsquo;s IPO. Rupert Hume-Kendall, Simon Fraser and Simon Mackenzie-Smith led the Merrill team. And Michael Lavelle, Andrew Seaton and Jan Skarbek, were enlisted from Citi.