Baugur admits defeat as UK arm falls into administration

Baugur collapsed into administration yesterday after the stricken Icelandic investment group withdrew an attempt to block creditors in its local courts, in a move that could have major ramifications for some of the UK's biggest retailers.

The owner of Hamleys said it would not oppose the application by Landsbanki to put its UK arm, BG Holdings, into administration in the UK to "minimise any further jeopardy to theongoing operations of Baugur's portfolio companies".

The Icelandic bank's petition toappoint PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrator was granted at the High Court yesterday.

On behalf of Landsbanki, PwC now holds Baugur's 13.7 per cent stake in the frozen food retailer Iceland, 34.9 per cent of House of Fraser, 63.7 per cent of Hamleys and 37.8 per cent of Aurum Group, which runs Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths and Mydiamond.

PwC's appointment will have noimmediate impact on the operations of the Baugur-backed retailers and not a single retailer has been placed into administration.

However, PwC has a legal duty to maximise the return it gets from Baugur UK's stakes, which could mean a relatively swift sale of the shareholding to suitors, such as to the retailtycoon Sir Philip Green or privateequity firms, although this will depend on the health of individual chains.Alternatively, PwC may hang on to the assets until more favourable conditions for raising finance or trading on the high street return.

Gunnar Sigurdsson, the chief executive of Baugur, said: "We are verydisappointed with Landsbanki's dec-ision as we believe that we had sound restructuring proposals to maximise the recovery and value for all stakeholders of the group."

A Landsbanki Resolution Committee spokesman dismissed the notion that a firesale of Baugur's assets was now likely, adding that its role was to "maximise the long-term value of those assets".

The bank said it does not intend to oppose Baugur's separate request, lodged in Iceland, for protection from creditors for its remaining businesses. Baugur's 49 per cent stake in Mosaic Fashions, the group behind Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis and Principles, is unaffected by PwC's appointment, though Mosaic is locked in talks with its bank, Kaupthing, to try to secure its future through a refinancing.

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?