BHS sale advisers called to produce fee details



frank field
Frank Field MP

Two key advisers on the BHS sale to Retail Acquisitions have been asked to reveal their fees.

MPs responsible for overseeing one of the two inquiries into the fiasco, have called for the legal and accounting advisers to the stricken fashion and homeware retailer to reveal how much they were paid for their work in the sale.

Retail tycoon Philip Green sold the 88 year old company to Retail Acquisitions which is controlled by former racing driver Dominic Chappell, for £1 last year.

The Work and Pensions select committee, who are making inquiries into the sale, have contacted accountancy firm Grant Thornton and law firm Olswang to disclose details about the fees they charged in respect of their work on the deal.

Committee chair Frank Field MP has asked for Mark Byers, partner at Grant Thornton, and Stephen Hermer, general counsel for Olswang, to release details on what due diligence work their firms perform to suss out the source of the money they receive as fees.

A letter saw Field state that Paul Budge, finance director at BHS’s former owners Arcadia, had given evidence to the committee stating that Retail Acquisitions had put £35m into an escrow account with Olswang.

And, Hermer is being asked to clarify what steps his firm took to find out how Retail Acquisitions had raised £35m to put into the fund.

The firm has until June 6 to provide the information.

Last week, both professionals presented evidence to the select committee hearing, during which Byers remarked that BHS needed to be sold by the Arcadia Group in order to give it any chance at survival on the British highstreet.

It was heard that Olswang had become aware of one of Dominic Chappells’s bankruptcies during its due diligence work. Chapell is Retail Acquisition’s largest shareholder.

Previous reports speculated that Grant Thornton pocketed £4.4m for the 13 months’ work it carried out on the sale, while Olswang took home £3.7m.

The Work and Pensions committee, yesterday, wrote letters to the Pensions Regulator, requesting more details of the proposed recovery plan for the BHS pension scheme, and to Alexander and Guy Dellal, inviting them to give evidence on the loans their company Allied Commercial Exports, issued to Retail Acquisitions.

Chappell and Sir Philip Green have also been called to give evidence later on this month.



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