Sears set for break-up as Green's pounds 548m bid is agreed

THE CURTAIN came down on one of the high street's longest running disaster stories yesterday when Sears, the struggling retail group, succumbed to an agreed pounds 548m bid which is likely to see the once-sprawling conglomerate broken up into its constituent parts.

Late yesterday afternoon the Sears board accepted an increased cash offer of 359p per share from a consortium led by Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur and backed by the secretive Barclay brothers. This follows its rejection of an earlier 340p per share offer.

Phillips & Drew, Sears' largest shareholder with a 22.3 per cent stake, has irrevocably agreed to accept the bid from January Investments, the Barclays' bid vehicle.

However, this agreement will cease to be binding in the event of a competing offer of more than 360p.

The deal includes all Sears' businesses, which span Freemans mail order and a string of high street chains including Miss Selfridge, Adams, Richards, Wallis and Warehouse. Mr Green is expected to line up an early sale of Freemans, possibly to Otto Versand of Germany, for around pounds 150m. The Creation charge-card business will still be sold for pounds 141m.

Mr Green was in an upbeat mood yesterday after his victory. Speaking from the Dorchester Hotel in London, where he has been staying during the bid battle, he said: "It's been a long two weeks. I'm tired but happy that we've got there in the end. I think we would have got there at 340p to be honest, but it was worth going that extra mile."

Mr Green had dinner with Sir Bob Reid, the Sears chairman, at the Dorchester on Wednesday night, where they agreed terms.

Mr Green said that their meal was "very cordial". The final points were agreed yesterday by separate negotiating teams at Sears' head office. "The increased offer represents a fair deal for shareholders and is in line with the board's strategy to return value to them," Sir Bob said.

This was ridiculed by analysts. One said: "It is pathetic but will we miss Sears? No we won't. Good riddance to it."

In addition to Sears, Mr Green's retail interests include the Mark One discount clothing chain, Owen Owen department stores and Shoe Express, bought from Sears.

He also brokered the deal which saw Sports Division buy Olympus Sports from Sears for a knock-down price.

Mr Green will have a 20 per cent stake in Sears but says that he has no plans to return to the stock market: "That's not my best vocation."

Sears' shares closed 7p higher at 354.5p.

Outlook, page 17

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot