Baugur Unit Confirms Talks

Mosaic seeks long-term funding.

LONDON — One of the troubled Baugur Group’s retail companies confirmed on Thursday that it’s talking to a variety of potential investors to secure the future of the business.

This story first appeared in the October 17, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As reported this week, Baugur has more than $2 billion worth of debt owed to Iceland’s biggest banks and is seeking to off-load it. Baugur has said anyone who buys all or part of the debt will inevitably gain control of some or all of its retail holdings, which include a string of British specialty chains as well as department store group House of Fraser and a stake in Saks Inc.

Sir Philip Green, owner of Topshop and Bhs Ltd. in the U.K., is in negotiations to buy some of that debt, but since he began negotiations last week, other investors — including Texas Pacific Group — are reported to have expressed interest in snapping up some of Baugur’s companies.

Mosaic, the Baugur operation that controls retail chains including Oasis, Karen Millen, Whistles, Odille, Coast, Warehouse, Principles and Shoe Studio Group, said it is seeking long-term funding to secure the future of the business. On Thursday, the company released a statement saying: “The business does not require saving, and has sufficient funding in place to meet all foreseeable obligations.

“The board is examining all potential avenues to secure long-term funding in order to protect the future of its brands and employees. We continue to work closely with our colleagues at Baugur and have held talks with a number of parties, but would like to make clear that none of these have reached a conclusion.”