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Asos edges closer to sealing Topshop and Miss Selfridge acquisition

A pedestrian wearing a face covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past a temporarily closed-down Topshop clothes store, operated by Arcadia, in central London on November 30, 2020. - British clothing retailer Arcadia, ravaged by coronavirus lockdowns and fierce online competition, remains on the brink of bankruptcy despite an emergency loan offer, the BBC reported Monday. (Photo by Hollie Adams / AFP) (Photo by HOLLIE ADAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
If successful, Asos — founded in 2000 — could acquire one of the most symbolic British high street brands. Photo: Hollie Adams / AFP via Getty Images

Online retailer Asos (ASC.L) is on the brink of sealing a deal to buy Topshop and Miss Selfridge from Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group within days.

Asos could announce a deal worth nearly £300m ($411m) as early as Monday, Sky News said.

Last week, the online fashion giant confirmed it was “in exclusive discussions” with the administrators of Green’s crumbling Arcadia empire to acquire its Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Topman brands, as well as fitness brand HIIT.

The acquisition would be a change in strategy for Asos which has previously favoured the approach of creating its own brands for expansion rather than integrating others.

If successful, Asos — founded in 2000 — could acquire one of the most symbolic British high street brands.

On Friday, online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO.L) also confirmed “exclusive talks” and is leading the race to snap up Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis for an estimated £25m.

Any deal would be for the brands and not the high street stores, and could wrap up Green’s remaining retail interests and the closure of all 444 stores in his retail empire.

But the online retailers’ interests in the high street brands shows how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the retail sector.

Last week, Boohoo sealed a deal to buy the Debenhams brand and website for £55m. But, the deal does not include the retailers remaining 118 shops leaving around 12,000 jobs at the 242-year-old department store at risk.

The group’s Evans brand was sold to Australia's City Chic for £23m last month.

Asos declined Yahoo Finance’s request for comment “at this stage.”

READ MORE: Topshop sale likely to earn Sir Philip Green's family '£50m'

Arcadia employed as many as 13,000 people across almost 50 UK stores when it collapsed in November last year.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many firms buckle under the economic pressure it has caused, especially as many high street brands were already struggling pre-pandemic due to declining footfall, increased online competition and rising business rates.

Green built the company into a retail Goliath through a series of acquisitions in the early 2000s. At its height, the company’s brands were a stalwart of high streets across the country and TopShop — Arcadia’s crown jewel — was fronted by model Kate Moss. Arcadia’s success helped Green amass a fortune of almost £5bn at his height.

However in recent years, Green was embroiled in the scandal surrounding the collapse of BHS, which he sold for £1 in 2015. MPs voted through a non-binding motion calling for his knighthood to be stripped and Green ultimately agreed to pay £363m to address a shortfall in BHS’ pension scheme.

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