Retail

Arcadia to push ahead with CVA after US landlords drop challenge


Arcadia, the fashion group controlled by Philip Green and his wife, said it would implement its controversial restructuring plan after a challenge from US landlords was withdrawn.

The owner of brands such as Topshop, Wallis and Burton said that following “significant and constructive dialogue” with the US creditors, including property giants Vornado, Simon Property and Brookfield, they had agreed to abandon their challenge to Arcadia’s company voluntary arrangements.

Chief executive Ian Grabiner said “all the components” of the CVAs could now be implemented. “We can now look forward to implementing our strategy and delivering our growth plan for the group.”

The group declined to give details about the agreement reached with the landlords.

Arcadia’s CVAs — a form of creditor protection — were particularly complex and controversial because of the interconnectedness of Arcadia’s various brands and the personal involvement of Sir Philip.

Landlords in the UK eventually backed the proposals by the requisite 75 per cent majority, but only after securing improved terms from Sir Philip and Tina Green.

As part of the restructuring, Arcadia also put its US subsidiary into administration, prompting complaints from US creditors that assets were being moved out of the country without due process.

Despite not being creditors of any of the companies implementing a CVA, the landlords launched a challenge as permitted by the CVA process.

A separate case against the administration of Arcadia USA is still in progress in New York although Vornado, the owner of the former flagship Topshop store on Fifth Avenue, has now withdrawn from that action.

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Challenges to CVAs are permitted up to 28 days after the creditor vote takes place, but are relatively rare because they require plaintiffs to prove that the proposals were materially unfair to them, or that correct procedures were not followed.

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct group is in the process of challenging the CVA implemented by department store group Debenhams, with the case likely to be heard in early September.



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