Sir Philip Green and board members at the Arcadia Group have denied reports of being in negotiations to sell the company to a Chinese firm.
Reports on February 18 claimed that Green was looking to sell parts of, if not all of, his retail conglomerate which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins to textile company Shandong Ruyi.
However, a statement from Green and the Arcadia board members has labelled the reports as “totally false”, adding: “Neither Sir Philip nor any of the directors of Arcadia have ever met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi, and they have never been to the Arcadia offices as was suggested to look at the company’s books
“We have the greatest respect for them as an organisation, but have had no dealings or contact with them.“There are further statements in the [Sunday Times] article that discussions have taken place with HSBC. These are also totally untrue.
“Additionally there is no truth in the suggestion by The Sunday Times that the company has been seeking a buyer for some time.”
The retail behemoth added that the people they employ should not have been subjected to this type of “malicious rumour-mongering”.
The denial came shortly after Work and Pensions Committee chairman Frank Field published a letter in which he called on Green to clarify the future of Arcadia’s pension scheme, which has a £565m deficit, in the event of a sale.
Field said pensioners should not be “hung out to dry”, reminding Green of the consequences that followed the sale of the BHS chain to Dominic Chappell for £1, and saying he should seek approval from the pensions regulator before seeking to sell Arcadia in order to “spare you another moral hazard investigation”.
In the statement Arcadia replied to Field’s comments stating that it was not in any sale talks that could affect the scheme and also pointed to a commitment the company made last year to double pension contributions to £50m.