M&S DELIVERS: Marks & Spencer plc signed two new banking facilities Friday, totaling 2 billion pounds, or $3.68 billion at current exchange rates. Combined with the company’s existing resources, they will be used to fund the return of 2.3 billion pounds, or $4.23 billion, to shareholders by way of a tender offer. As reported, Stuart Rose, the retailer’s new chief executive, made the cash promise to shareholders last month to rebuff a takeover attempt by Philip Green. The company said the first facility, for 1.2 billion pounds, or $2.21 billion, matures on Aug. 13, 2009 and is provided by BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Morgan Stanley as mandated lead arrangers and book-runners, and by Fortis Bank, Rabobank and Standard Chartered as senior lead arrangers. The second facility, for 800 million pounds, or $1.47 billion, is provided by HSBC. The company said this sum will act as a standby facility for use, if necessary, to bridge the period between the return of value to shareholders, and the receipt of the proceeds from the disposal of M&S money. — Ellen Burney

IRELAND BOUND: Hennes & Mauritz plans to bring its fast-fashion brand to the Emerald Isle. The Swedish apparel giant will open its first Irish store, in a shopping center in Dundrum, outside Dublin, in March 2005. H&M also plans to open additional doors in Ireland in 2005, the company said. Once H&M opens in Ireland, it will be present in 21 markets. — Brid Costello

TATI TANGLE: The saga of Tati’s takeover continues. Just days after it was announced that the French discount clothing retailer has a new owner, the decision is being contested. Earlier this month Paris’ commercial court accepted Vetura’s bid of 14.5 million euros, or $17.9 million, for the beleaguered chain, which has been in the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last September. But last week textile company Asiatex — which lost its bid for Tati to Vetura — contested the court’s decision, citing three irregularities that it hopes will cancel the ruling in favor of Vetura. Vetura, meantime, last Monday unveiled its revival plans for Tati. These include introducing its Fabio Lucci fashion brand into the stores that also sell Tati’s signature pink-and-white check pattern. Vetura president Lucien Urano asserted that Tati and Fabio Lucci could become the “hard discount” leaders in France within two to four years. Vetura plans to maintain 23 of the 29 Tati stores and 667 of its 997 employees. Fabio Lucci delivered its first shipment of clothing to the Paris flagship branch of Tati only days after the court ruled in favor of the takeover. Vetura operates 120 stores, 15 of which are located in Portugal and 30 around Paris. — Gretchen Worsley

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