Lloyds adds to pressure on All Saints to find new investor

Lloyds Banking Group has hired an accountancy firm to offer advice on its option should All Saints fails to find an investor in the next week to inject fresh funds into the fashion chain.

The decision by the retailer's main lender to draw up contingency plans by appointing KPMG follows the collapse of talks on Wednesday between All Saints' stakeholders and a consortium, including the Beirut-based conglomerate M1, which had been poised to take control of the chain.

The current difficult situation at All Saints was triggered by the collapsed Icelandic banks Kaupthing and Glitnir deciding to sell their shareholdings in the retailer.

The accountancy firm Ernst & Young (E&Y) was hired in February to find buyers for stakes in All Saints. A price tag of up to £140m was placed on the retailer, but concern has grown that All Saints may need to raise funds more quickly than a typical bidding process would allow.

The collapse of talks with M1, a group co-founded by the next likely Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, has raised questions over the future of All Saints, which has 63 stores and 47 concessions in the UK, Europe and in the US.

However, Goode Partners, a US private equity firm, which was involved in the initial bidding process, has now rekindled its interest in All Saints and made a new offer, according to a person familiar with the situation. This is now likely to be considered over the weekend.

Another US investment firm, MSD Capital, has also been linked to a deal with All Saints. But if a buyer cannot be found in the next week then Lloyds may consider placing All Saints into administration, although less grisly measures could also be implemented to safeguard its immediate future.

One option, for example, would be for Kaupthing to delay selling the bank's stake until All Saints is on a firmer financial footing.

A spokesman for Lloyds said yesterday: "We are fully supportive of All Saints and we are continuing to work with the company towards a sale."

However, he declined to comment on any detail of the sale process or the possible administration of All Saints. People familiar with the situation stressed that KPMG had been hired as an adviser and not as a potential administrator.

Over the 12 months to 31 January 2010, the last period for which figures are available, All Saints more than doubled its pre-tax profits to £10.7m, on sales up by 46 per cent to £132.9m. However, its current trading is unclear in Europe, where a consumer slowdown is buffeting many retailers, and the United States, where an expansion saw All Saints open 10 stores, including outlets in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Established in 1994, All Saints is best-known for its distinctive stores, which are fitted out with 10,000 vintage Singer sewing machines. All Saints and MSD Capital did not return calls yesterday, while Goode Partners, E&Y and KPMG all declined to comment.

Less than two weeks ago, Stephen Craig, the chief executive of All Saints, said: "We are confident that the chain's best days are ahead of it."

A week is a long time in Retail..

Alworths, the "son of Woolworths", has become the third retailer to collapse into administration this week.

The chain, which was set up by a former director of Woolworths, appointed Leonard Curtis as administrator yesterday, although its 17 stores will continue to trade while the insolvency firm seeks to find a buyer. Andy Latham set up Alworths around the time the 99-year old high street stalwart closed its 800 stores in January 2009.

The menswear retailer Officers Club and the furniture chain Easy Living fell into administration earlier this week. Oddbins, the high street wine retailer, is expected to file for administration on Monday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace