Sir Philip Green says was ready to back Sports Direct's BHS rescue bid

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Sir Philip Green has insisted that he tried to support a Sports Direct rescue deal for BHS as he made a final defence of his role in the collapse of the retailer.

He claimed he offered to add £5 million to the £10 million offered by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for BHS, although Ashley’s bid was rejected by administrators as unacceptable.

This “can now put an end to the suggestion that I tried to block a sale of the business”, Green wrote to MPs probing the collapse. 

The Arcadia boss also stressed that he invested £421 million in BHS shops between 2001 and 2014, before selling the chain in 2015 for £1 to Retail Acquisitions, led by serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell.

BHS failed in April with a £571 million pension deficit, putting 11,000 jobs at risk.

“It is clear that we invested substantially in the business, we lent substantial sums to the business and we gave Retail Acquisitions every chance with a solid platform to take the business forward,” he said.

Frank Field, chairman of the two committees of MPs investigating BHS’s failure, said: “Sir Philip is aware we are writing our report and is suddenly volunteering all manner of last minute assistance.” The MPs’ report will be published this month.

Green responded: “Frank Field never ceases to surprise me. I was merely responding to the questions in a letter that he signed.”

Asked why Retail Acquisitions accepted a deal with no guarantees from Green on the pension scheme or trade credit guarantees, former director Eddie Parladorio said: “Sir Philip Green emphasised on more than one occasion in meetings that… his word was his bond.”

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July 15, 2016 |
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