THESE are not good times for Sir Philip Green. The scandal-hit tycoon has been spending more days than usual at his Monaco base in recent months, laying low in the sunny tax haven while both his reputation and high street empire take a beating back in the UK.
But even Green will struggle to avoid focusing on his home city tomorrow, when a crunch vote in central London will decide the fate of the Arcadia fashion group. Green is hoping his proposals for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) will be squeezed through after months of fierce negotiations with regulators, suppliers and landlords. “We’re just trying to drag this thing over the finishing line” one fatigued Arcadia source huffed earlier this week.
Unlike a number of previous CVA votes, the results of this one have always remained firmly in doubt, but tonight it has emerged the Pensions Regulator has agreed to do a deal with Green, suggesting Arcadia will likely reach the 75 per cent voting threshold it requires to avoid going into administration.
The fashion mogul has nonetheless left it to the very last moment, risking a major pensions row despite the collapse of BHS in 2016 still remaining fresh in the public memory. It seems that three years on, Green has not been able to move away from controversy: in fact, he is now fighting on more fronts than ever before, both in his personal life and his business one.
With 18,000 jobs and hundreds of high street stores on the line, tomorrow’s showdown is likely to be full of sparks. In the riverside building of County Hall, the former GLA headquarters now home to some of London’s most popular tourist attractions, creditors and Arcadia executives will meet at noon to hold the make-or-break vote. While visitors on the ground floor enjoy the horrors and thrills of London Dungeons, Green’s army of directors could be subject to scares of their own in the rooms above.