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Elliott Advisors poised to bankroll £70m rescue of Superdry

Superdry
Superdry

The US hedge fund Elliott Advisors is poised to bankroll a £70m rescue of Superdry after the clothing retailer raised fears over its ability to continue trading amid the cost of living crisis.

Bantry Bay, a London-based fund that is backed by the Wall Street activist, is preparing to refinance £70m of loans that Superdry is due to repay in January, according to City sources.

The fund is run by Jonathan and Dennis Levine, the latter who founded Burdale Financial which hit the headlines by calling in its loans ahead of the collapse of high street chain Woolworth’s in 2008.

Julian Dunkerton, the founder of Superdry who returned to the helm in 2019, said the business “was cool again” after returning to profit last month.

Annual sales rose 10pc as Mr Dunkerton hailed strong demand among the TikTok generation for items such as Afghan coats.

But the company said in its annual report that its future was at risk, with Superdry still in talks to find new investors to refinance banking facilities provided by HSBC and BNP Paribas.

Talks with Bantry Bay are understood to be at an advanced stage with Superdry hopeful that a deal could be agreed as early as this week, City sources added. No agreement has been signed and a deal could yet fall apart, they added.

Superdry operates 740 branded stores across 61 countries and employs more than 2,500 people in the UK and Ireland. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Bantry Bay, which claims to be a “specialist lender providing commercially driven and creative debt capital solutions to corporates undergoing change”, is also understood to be in talks with discount chain Wilko over a £35m cash injection.

Wilko, which employs 16,000 people across 400 stores, was unable to convince its lenders to agree to an extension of its corporate overdraft amid rising interest rates.

The retail chain, founded by James Wilkinson in 1930 and now sells everything from super glue to sweets, remains in family hands.

Chief executive Jerome Saint-Marc said Wilko was reviewing how the company manages its funding so it can best trade through the current retail environment. It did not comment further.

Bantry Bay, named after the popular tourist destination in Cork, provided a £60m loan to clothing retailer Matalan over the summer.

Elliott Advisors – which owns Waterstones – is understood to be backing a bid by Matalan founder John Hargreaves to buy the business back after it was put up for sale by lenders owed more than £500m.