US retail giant Authentic Brands is planning an audacious double swoop for collapsed Arcadia and Debenhams in a deal that would transform the high street.
The firm, which recently took over historic New York department store Barneys, is in talks with the administrators of the two companies this weekend.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the firm, which was founded by Canadian Jamie Salter in 2010, was lining up bids for both brands.
Any such offers would put Salter, who has built up a huge retail empire over the last decade, in competition with Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who is also circling the high street stalwarts.
Authentic Brands, which is backed by heavyweight financiers such as Blackrock and Leonard Green & Partners, was on course to book turnover of $15bn prior to the pandemic.
Salter has seized the opportunity offered by the crisis, however, and snapped up a number of struggling brands such as Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers.
Alongside the retailers, the brand also owns the magazine Sports Illustrated and the image rights to Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.
City sources said that the firm’s financial heft made it a serious candidate for taking over Arcadia and Debenhams.
It comes as documents seen by the Telegraph showed that administrator Deloitte was running an auction of the pieces of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire.
The process, known as “Project Kane”, is clad in secrecy, with first round bids for assets expected by Friday.
Three of the eight brands – Evans, Miss Selfridge, and Outfit – made sales losses last year, the documents revealed, even before high rent prices pushed the firms deeper into the red.
City A.M. has contacted Authentic Brands for comment.