Green moves closer

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The prospect of Philip Green, the former Amber Day chairman, taking control of the troubled retailer Owen & Robinson moved closer yesterday when the principal companies were placed in administration. The jewellery stores which the company said it was abandoning in April have been placed in liquidation.

The jewellery shops were struggling against high leases and were chiefly responsible for dragging the parent company into an pounds 8m loss last year.

Mr Green acquired the company's pounds 6m bank debt earlier this month, together with TSB's 15.6 per cent stake in the company. The deal effectively made Mr Green the company's banker. He said yesterday: "I will be supportive if given a commercial proposal. I'm fairly relaxed."

Mr Green said he would support a refinancing of the Foothold group, which consists of more than 50 stores, but may swap his debt for equity if no deal materialises.

This could give him control of the group. The Foothold stores made a profit of pounds 540,000 last year and will continue to trade.

Mr Green is conducting the Owen & Robinson deal on his own account. It is separate from his involvement in the Owen Owen department stores.