As Ashley offers Arcadia lifeline...
M&S tipped to swoop on Austin Reed and Jaeger
Jaeger could be interesting M&S (pic: Terry Murden)
Marks & Spencer is considering an offer for menswear brand Austin Reed and its sister fashion label Jaeger.
It is also understood to have looked at buying Jacques Vert. All three are part of the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill empire of retail mogul Philip Day which recently collapsed.
Marks & Spencer is understood to be in ‘pole position’ to buy the three brands, which it would operate as a subsidiary company with separate design teams if successful, according to City sources.
Next and Frasers owner Mike Ashley have also been named as possible buyers.
The move by M&S, reported by MailOnline, comes as various retail deals could be agreed in the coming days as the future of several big names hang in the balance.
Potential buyers are circling over the carcass of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group brands which include Top Shop, Burtons and Dorothy Perkins, employing 13,000 people.
Mr Ashley’s Frasers Grop has offered a £50m emergency loan to save Arcadia from administration.
Frasers said it would provide the emergency cash on an unsecured basis – meaning Arcadia would not need to put up collateral.
However, the offer would be immediately withdrawn if the group, or any of its brands, enters an insolvency process.
JD Sports is longer in exclusive discussions with Debenhams, though sources say it has not withdrawn completely from talks to acquire the chain. But Arcadia concessions provide a large chunk of its revenue and its collapse would put a question over the deal.
Debenhams was owned by a consortium of hedge fund lenders until it went bust for the second time in a year, in April. It employs 12,000 people across 124 stores.