Baugur in talks to buy £150m Oasis

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The Independent Online
The top eight managers at Oasis stand to pocket multi-million pound payouts if Iceland's Baugur proceeds with an estimated £150m bid for the womenswear retailer.</p>Derek Lovelock, Oasis' chief executive, and seven senior managers took a 12.75 per cent stake as part of a £55m PPM Venture-backed management buyout two years ago. A Baugur deal could value that stake at up to £20m.</p>Baugur's interest in Oasis comes less than three months after it paid £59m for the toy retailerHamleys. It has built significant stakes in several UK retailers it believes are undervalued, including Big Food Group, House of Fraser, Somerfield and JJB Sports. Last year it was on the verge of buying TopShop and TopMan from Philip Green, as part of his £850m purchase of Arcadia, before a fraud investigation in Iceland scuppered the deal.</p>Although Baugur declined to comment on the talks with Oasis. A spokesman said: "We are keen to continue acquiring retail space in the UK. Some [deals] might be a few weeks off, some might be six to 12 months off."</p>Analysts said a deal at £150m could prompt investors to query the value of other proposed management buyouts, notably New Look and Thorntons.</p>Talks with Oasis are said to be well advanced, although PPM Ventures also declined to comment. The high street retailer trades from more than 160 outlets. </p>