Beauty and fashion retailer Next is said to be leading the race for Sir Philip Green’s bust Arcadia group as its auction comes to a close, according to The Sunday Times.
The high street chain, spearheaded by British businessman Simon Wolfson, is bidding for the Topshop owner with financial backing from Davidson Kempner Capital Management.
Before Christmas it emerged the companies were ‘likely’ to make an offer on the businesses.
In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, Next appears to have negotiated through the outbreak unscathed.
Last year, the FTSE 100 retailer snapped up a handful of Debenhams’ shuttered stores and revealed a host of dedicated beauty and home stores.
Categories in-store include colour, skin and hair care, fragrance and male grooming.
One month prior to opening its new chain of beauty stores, the group bought the UK arm of L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret in a business-saving deal after an agreement with Sycamore was abandoned.
However, Next’s bid for the Topshop owner is not expected to be plain sailing.
Next faces competition from the owner of historic New York department store Barneys, Authentic Brands, which plans to use its ‘deep pockets’ for a joint takeover of Arcadia and collapsed British chain Debenhams.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo is also in the running for Green’s apparel giant, meanwhile the maker of Donald Trump’s Signature Tie Collection, G-III Apparel, joined the race last week.
The sale is being administered by Deloitte, which is hoping to close proceedings by the end of the month.
Next declined to comment on the announcement.