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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map