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New consortium enters fray to buy BHS empire

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A NEW CONSORTIUM  led by Greg Tufnell, the former Mothercare and Burton boss, has entered the fray to buy struggling retailer, BHS.

Tufnell, brother of former England cricketer and TV personality Phil, is reportedly leading the bid by Richess Group, in a battle to beat other hopefuls such as Matalan founder John Hargreaves, Select Retail owner Cafer Mahiroglu.

Other prospective buyers include Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Peacocks clothing retailer owner Philip Day, and Mike Ashley of Sports Direct and owner of Newcastle United Football Club.

The last minute bid is believed to have delayed a decision by administrators Duff & Phelps to announce a new buyer, widely tipped to have been announced this week.

The Richess Group is understood to be backed by a wealthy Portuguese family, alongside Nick de Sosa, a former investment banker and chief executive of Bristol rugby club.

Tufnell is a director of investment firm House of Britannia which counts brands such Cornella James – glovemaker to the Queen – among its portfolio.

Details of the bid emerged just two days after BHS auditor PwC was questioned over why it described the retailer as a ‘going concern’ just days before it was sold to a consortium with no retail experience for £1, during a joint business, innovation and skills and work and pensions committee hearing into the retailers collapse.

MPs expressed their concerns as to why PwC had been prepared to sign off the troubled retailer’s accounts as a going concern, when the spectre of possible insolvency was looming and visible to both the pension scheme trustees and the company itself.

Five days after the auditor’s report was formally signed off on 6 March 2015, BHS was sold to former bankrupt and racing driver Dominic Chappell of Retail Acquisition Consortium on 11 March.

 

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